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

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/
45.3k Upvotes

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894

u/Chairman_Mittens Sep 23 '22

1/1000th is an insane achievement, considering how large the plastic patch is. Excellent work!

243

u/DirtySingh Sep 23 '22

Yeah, 999 more times feels like an achievable number. If 10 companies do this 100x it seems possible. I hope it happens!

99

u/unholyarmy Sep 23 '22

I have to assume that there will be diminishing returns. The final 10% would be a hell of a lot harder to capture than the first 10%.

39

u/TW1TCHYGAM3R Sep 23 '22

While you may not be wrong, using the information gathered by collecting the first 90% should give us what we need to make adjustments to the technology and the process needed to help us collect the last 10%.

38

u/LukeSykpe Sep 23 '22

Even if THAT is not the case either, is that a problem? A 10km2 garbage patch is about 90% better than a 100km2 one. Even if we cannot collect the last x%, there is no reason, if the technology doesn't feature dangerous externalities, not to clear 100-x% of the patch.

-7

u/TW1TCHYGAM3R Sep 23 '22

I dunno if it's just me but I like to see things through to the end lol but you are not wrong.

2

u/LukeSykpe Sep 24 '22

I am a perfectionist in my personal life and I absolutely cannot let something go if the tiniest detail is not to my liking, if I let myself do that, so I do get where you're coming from. I have had to learn to appreciate the "good enough"s and the" better than nothing"s a bit.

2

u/LjSpike Sep 23 '22

But is that a problem?

We don't need to have no impact on the planet, just a sufficiently small one. 10% might not be the best amount to leave behind, but if we can get it down to 5%? That would actually be pretty damn good if we are being totally honest.

1

u/unholyarmy Sep 23 '22

I was specifically responding to the previous comment that we just need to do the same thing 999 more times. I have no issue with solving 50% of a problem.

1

u/swamphockey Sep 24 '22

They’ve collected in total 120 tons of plastic in the last 2 years. Remarkable achievement.

Every day however 22,000 tons of plastic is disposed into the ocean.

Be aware, these kind of feel good efforts are often funded and promoted by the polluters so they can keep on polluting.

1

u/LjSpike Sep 24 '22

That's very true.

We also have to likewise be careful of the other pitfall, demeaning small progress as signs that a problem is hopeless to tackle.

1

u/swamphockey Sep 24 '22

The criticism?

They are funded by the polluters are are a distraction from the real problem:

https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/ocean-cleanup-struggles-fulfill-promise-scoop-up-plastic-sea-2021-09-16/

"I think they’re coming from a good place of wanting to help the ocean, but by far the best way to help the ocean is to prevent plastic from getting in the ocean in the first place," said Miriam Goldstein, director of ocean policy at the Center for American Progress.

"Once plastic has gotten into the open ocean, it becomes very expensive and fossil-fuel intensive to get it back out again."

5

u/itsmywife Sep 23 '22

who cares bro dont be a party pooper

0

u/Martin5143 Sep 23 '22

Face of this entire subreddit. No consideration for real life.

1

u/rudiegonewild Sep 24 '22

Best to just not do it then

0

u/Scrapple_Joe Sep 23 '22

Time to waste more plastic