We at Water Gallery are vehemently anti-plastic, so whenever a news story comes up about plastic in our oceans, it always sends a chill down our collective spines. However, the story we just read is of the forward-moving, progressive sort when it comes to getting plastic out of our oceans and that's always very exciting for us.
As we've blogged about before here, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is an environmental disaster of such magnitude, we have a hard time even thinking about it. The dangers that plastic poses to marine life and the ocean ecosystem is overwhelming and devastating. But the Ocean Cleanup Foundation has come up a revolutionary plan to combat ocean trash: a floating dam, created to trap plastic bags, plastic bottles, and other waste that ends up in our oceans.
It will be tested in 2016 for the first time off the coast of the Netherlands. What's particularly revolutionary about this floating dam is that, unlike previous attempts to remove plastic (and other) waste from our oceans, this method will NOT endanger the marine life with which it will come into contact.
Nets and other forms of trash collection typically ensnare various types of sea life, simply posing another type of danger for the marine life they're trying to protect. But this new floating dam will allow the marine life to swim through unharmed.
By the year 2020, the goal of the Ocean Cleanup Foundation is to install a 100-km long V-shaped floating barrier at the site of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Each arm of the V will consist of a screen three meters deep that will trap waste and send it to a central area of the barrier where it can then be collected for recycling.
This is a very hopeful step in the right direction for our world's serious ocean trash problem. Of course the REAL solution begins with each of us and the items we choose to utilize each day. Avoid single-use plastic at all costs.
If we don't choose single-use plastic, we won't be responsible for it ending up in our oceans and waterways. Choose reusable items whenever possible, so that waste of any sort is avoided. But for the damage that's sadly already been done, this is a step in the right direction.
As always, reduce, reuse, recycle, and conserve. Small, everyday changes make a huge difference.