r/Futurology ∞ transit umbra, lux permanet ☥ Sep 23 '22 All-Seeing Upvote 1 Take My Energy 2 Wholesome Seal of Approval 1 Silver 3 Helpful 3 Wholesome 4

A Dutch NGO that has cleaned up 1/1000th of the plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, says its technology can scale up to eliminate it completely. Environment

https://theoceancleanup.com/updates/first-100000-kg-removed-from-the-great-pacific-garbage-patch/
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u/WombatusMighty Sep 23 '22

This guy has gotten over 50 million dollars in funding already, and hasn't produced any viable results in the nine years this startup exists now - besides being funded by the industries that are the leading plastic polluters in the world.

They are doing more harm to the ocean than good: https://www.vox.com/down-to-earth/22949475/ocean-plastic-pollution-cleanup

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u/Backseat_Bouhafsi Sep 23 '22

It's funny that the article you linked itself mentions the method used by them to ensure that marine life doesn't die. This has been practiced since their first test models.

It's a very slowly moving net now. So slow that marine life swim out of it instead of getting entangled. Why don't u read the article instead of sub-headings alone? Or why don't you watch the videos on TOC's website or on YT?

They AREN'T doing more harm than good.

And by the way, 1/1000th of the surface junk is still substantial results. Microplastics beneath the surface need to be tackled differently.

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u/wizardyourlifeforce Sep 24 '22

They have literally had videos showing them picking up a lot of marine life. Listen to the scientists, not the egotistical tech bro.

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u/Backseat_Bouhafsi Sep 24 '22

And what do they recommend we do about the garbage patch? Leave it floating till that marine life dies from the leached toxins? It's bizarre that someone is more concerned about the pleuston in that bit of water but not the marine life throughout the oceans which will die as result of leaving the garbage untouched

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u/hemigrapsus_ Sep 24 '22

So much of the ocean life at the surface are not active swimmers. It's a travesty to dismiss that this approach kills millions of organisms. "Using these wall-like barriers to collect plastic in spite of the neuston is like clear-cutting a canopy in the name of helping a forest. There is no point in collecting plastic if by the end there is nothing left to conserve." https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/01/ocean-cleanup-project-could-destroy-neuston/580693/

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u/Backseat_Bouhafsi Sep 24 '22

I'd like to see how much neuston and pleuston live inside a garbage patch. What nutrients do they get when the sun is blocked by plastic and leached toxins fill the water in that area.

Long term the solution is definitely to stop garbage at the source. But dismissing the attempt to removal the existing garbage seems a major fallacy. We can't afford to let the patch grow.

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u/ineververify Sep 23 '22

50 million seems really low

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u/Crossvid-19 Sep 23 '22

Dumb takes, "it's better to do it at the source" doesn't take away that it's not a bad idea to remove plastic from the ocean. Have some faith, 50 million's fuck all in the grand scheme of things and there's quite some work being done in those 9 years.

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u/WombatusMighty Sep 23 '22

No there is not "quite some work" being done in these nine years. They still haven't collected any substantial amount of plastic waste, and multiple marine biologists have even called their latest video a staged PR stunt - which you would have known if you had read the linked article.

Furthermore, the problem is that over 99,8% of the ocean plastic is broken down into fragments & microparticles, which float way below the ocean surface: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/03/science/ocean-plastic-animals.html

Thus 'The Ocean Cleanup' will not be able to actually clean up any substantial amount of plastic, and instead do a lot of harm to marine life. This + the CO2 emmissions from their ships would outweigh any positive inpact they could actually make.