r/Futurology ∞ transit umbra, lux permanet ☥ 13d ago Helpful 3 Silver 3 Wholesome 4 Wholesome Seal of Approval 1 Take My Energy 2 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/
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u/FuturologyBot 13d ago

The following submission statement was provided by /u/lughnasadh:


Submission Statement

Given that microplastics are now being found in even the most remote locations on Earth, and inside our bodies, this problem seems one that should be urgently solved. Surprisingly the NGO says it thinks 80% of the plastic in the GPGP comes from fishing. We know vast amounts of other plastic waste is entering the oceans, which begs the questions - where is it ending up?


Please reply to OP's comment here: https://old.reddit.com/r/Futurology/comments/xlvovh/a_dutch_ngo_that_has_cleaned_up_11000th_of_the/ipl5zl3/

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u/lughnasadh ∞ transit umbra, lux permanet ☥ 13d ago

Submission Statement

Given that microplastics are now being found in even the most remote locations on Earth, and inside our bodies, this problem seems one that should be urgently solved. Surprisingly the NGO says it thinks 80% of the plastic in the GPGP comes from fishing. We know vast amounts of other plastic waste is entering the oceans, which begs the questions - where is it ending up?

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u/Waterwoogem 13d ago

On beaches within the geographic area of the relevant Deltas. Which is why Slat and other individuals/companies tackling the same issue developed River based interceptors. Look at the OceanCleanup Channel on Youtube, its absolutely disgusting how much plastic is visible in the Guatemala videos. Of course, due to severe poverty, there is a lack of infrastructure to deal with waste, it is only with the help of international organizations that the issue gets solved. The Study the OceanCleanup is doing there is simply the first step of a solution, and hopefully it gets solved quickly.

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u/YoungZM 13d ago

It's not just an issue of poverty, I think. Poverty just doesn't have the benefit of common waste management.

Anecdotally, I live in a wealthy country in a wealthy province and every time I'm outdoors I see more plastic (and general trash) than I could ever hope to collect alone. Hiking, kayaking, scuba diving -- it's everywhere I go. At least when I recreationally engage I'm only just starting to take responsibility for what I'm seeing vs. what I'm there to enjoy.

The closest thing I think humanity will ever have to magic is waste management services. The most responsibility most of us have is putting waste out at the curb in a "we did our best to sort it" (results may vary) manner and it disappearing. We need to educate about a greater personal responsibility in preventing waste and materials from making it into our environment and really evaluating what the "3 R's" really mean. I find most of us who have the privilege to are only ever thinking of the last, rather than the first. I include myself heavily in that as I try to relearn basically everything and struggle to affordably retool my lifestyle which until recently focused on consumption rather than life-long or generational goods and simply less of those anyways.

At least I have optimism now knowing that I can be part of the solution, even if it feels a little low-impact at times.

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u/DedicatedDdos 13d ago

It's a problem that can truly only get adressed through legislation, asking people to pick up trash etc... Only combats the symptoms not the causes.

Ideally it should start with banning plastic packaging for anything that doesn't need it.

Working in IT for example, the amount of plastic used to package something as asinine as cables is ridiculous, we're already seeing a small shift there with more cardboard packaging etc... But just today I had to unpack a printer and the amount of plastic is absurd, power cable, cartridges even the damn manual which is just a paper book, all of it was individually wrapped in plastic bags, it's mind-bogglingly wasteful.

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u/brett1081 13d ago

If someone were to ban clamshell packaging I would give them whatever award they wanted.

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u/HollowsOfYourHeart 12d ago

It's the bane of my existence.

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u/TheW83 13d ago

Ah yes the damn cables. Plastic bag with a cable, plastic tie wraps around the cable in 2 places and stupid plastic coating on the connector ends because they should be kept smooth and without scratches during shipping. Not to mention the bagged cables in another bag and those bag in a big bag in a box.

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u/Isord 13d ago

No reason to even have a paper manual. Anywhere buying printers has access to the internet to access a digital manual.

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u/chiefmud 13d ago

I agree with your statement, however, paper is probably the one material that is already the most sustainable, and has the capability of being carbon neutral. As opposed to plastics, rubbers, metals, leather, fabrics, etc.

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u/dasbush 13d ago

Man I remember when we switched from paper bags to plastic at the grocery store. Save the trees amirite?

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u/chiefmud 13d ago

I’m still using my genuine elephant leather disposable shopping bags, so what do I know…

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u/Interesting-Rent9142 13d ago

Me too. The ivory handles are very durable.

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u/SargeNZ 13d ago

I'd imagine it had more to do with saving the company money.

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u/Isord 13d ago

Yeah for sure, wood and paper products are sustainable in general, but every little reduction in shipping weight and manufacturing time/processes helps.

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u/Ilruz 13d ago

In my country you need to include the user manual in the package, by the law. I have recently purchased a power drill, the manual was written in so many languages that was two finger thick. Waste. In 2022, stick a qrcode somewhere on the item, I will be more than happy to reach that link.

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u/terminalzero 13d ago

hell, make a full paper manual available for free to anyone who asks, just don't include it in the box

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u/Kevimaster 13d ago

On the one hand I see what you're saying, on the other hand I freaking hate it when expensive/complex equipment or electronics doesn't have a paper manual. Especially since just because you can find and read the manual online now doesn't mean you will be able to in 5, 10, 15, or 20 years. I've run into multiple appliances/electronics that were released relatively recently (within the last decade) but the manuals were taken down off of the company's website and were seemingly nowhere else to be found so I was just stuck without a manual.

So yeah, I prefer having paper manuals, especially for high ticket price items, that I can then just keep in a plastic bag in a drawer and be sure that I'll have them in ten years when I end up needing it for some reason.

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u/DMvsPC 13d ago

You could load the manual onto the printer as well in internal memory, if you need it you can print it off. Or print a link/QR code to get to it.

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u/ScoobyDont06 13d ago

pallets for shipping should have permanent cargo netting that has size fitting for the stack.... instead those pallets are wrapped with a disgusting amount of thin, non recyclable plastic film.

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u/brutinator 13d ago

Its a rough situation because while I agree that personal responsibility is a big part of it, a large part of it is also corporations offloading their responsibilities.

Theres no reason what every little thing needs to be in blister packs and shrink wrapped. Theres no reason for small plastic bottles for drinks when cans exist, etc.

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u/Chaucer85 13d ago

and really evaluating what the "3 R's" really mean.

"Reduce" is a huge thing I have to remind people of, here in Texas. Even in places that brag about having green initiatives, they're still over-using materials then throw them away or maybe recycle them. But they shouldn't have been pulled to be used in the first place.

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u/Ilruz 13d ago

I think we have to put a tax on every inorganic item that cannot be naturally degraded. Use that to incentive the usage of full organic packaging.

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u/rvgirl42 13d ago

I agree. And recycling is just a band aid that makes beverage companies like Coca Cola, etc, feel fine about continuing to use plastic.

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u/Chaucer85 13d ago edited 13d ago

Eh, positive incentives over negative. More taxes rarely help, and carbon credits have been disastrous instead of rebates for those who invest cleaning up their manufacturing process. You see this in law compliance all the time. "Hey you can't park there." "No, I can, it just costs me $500 if I get caught."

It's either that or just outright ban stuff.

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u/wgc123 13d ago

Home Depot is a good guy here. So many times I leave there holding the item I want: no bags and little to no packaging beyond tags

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u/Big_Cryptographer_16 13d ago

Ngl I thought it was “Reading, Riting, and Rithmetics” at first. 70s/80s child and the 3 Rs meant that back then

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u/abbeyh 13d ago

That’s what it was in the 90’s too but I remember the change. My teacher in 1993 was reading riting rithmetic, but 1994 was reduce reuse recycle. I grew up in the south in the US which may have caused the message to reach us a little late, or maybe that’s when it really took off. At the time, in the suburbs, they didn’t offer recycling yet, but I remember we started to keep our own separated bins and would go to the Walmart which had these giant chain link boxes labeled “glass, plastic, metal, paper” and you would just hurl your bags over into it. It was a pain and there were enough bees there to fill a high school gym, but… we tried.

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u/SignorJC 13d ago

I think you're wrong on poverty not being the root cause, or maybe better to say capitalism. As disgusting as it is, hikers and boaters tossing plastic bags or bottles away isn't causing the mirocplastics to dominate oceans. It's industrial level waste or entire communities dumping all their trash. The places that we have outsourced our manufacturing or have held in poverty.

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u/way2lazy2care 13d ago

Yea. The Ocean Cleanup Project has done a lot of research into where most of the plastic is coming from. That's why they switched from primarily focusing on skimming plastic from the ocean to stopping it closer to the source. There's only like three rivers in first world countries that are called out by them. The differences in scale are just totally bonkers. Here's there video on it, but they share a lot of their data too:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfTHWLEXpSc

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u/Kirk_Kerman 13d ago

It's capitalism with a little bit of modern day imperialism:

  1. It is universally better for everyone if our food, water, brains and testicles aren't saturated with plastic. However, there is no way to sell plastic waste and make a profit that has higher returns than dumping it, so it gets dumped.

  2. Capitalism will devour itself and collapse due to inherent contradictions unless it can push the collapse off to some future point. For instance, if manufacturing in America is as cheap as it an possibly get due to competition, what do you do to lower costs and retain that juicy profit in your race to the bottom? Well, fund politicians to sabotage unions so you can pay local workers less, and offshore your operations so you can pay those locals less.

  3. But why would other, "developing" countries agree to take on cheap manufacturing? Because frequently those countries are not under-developed, they are over-exploited. The legacy of colonialism has left the majority of the world poor, and that's labor you can take advantage of cheaply. No to mention that if you do it on a large enough scale you've shackled their economy to your nation's personal corporate well-being. A developing country that has a bunch of foreign-owned factories isn't seeing the end benefit of having the things it's making, nor is it seeing much benefit from the pittance pay. It's the same thing as we already know about donations to Africa: if you send huge bales of clothing over, you're not actually helping them long-term, you're killing their local textile industry which can't compete with mass cargo dumps of free clothes.

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u/SpicyTamata 13d ago

You also forgot to mention that these "developing" countries have nearly no regulations. So it's cheaper for companies to outsource their manufacturing there because they don't need to worry where all the waste and by products get dumped.

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u/Kirk_Kerman 13d ago

Frequently they have such poor regulations by force. The book Debt by David Graeber goes into detail on how international debt can be used as a weapon without directly shooting someone. For example, a country that's been impoverished by colonialism can be coerced into taking an IMF loan to remain internationally solvent. IMF loans come with steep interest rates and clauses mandating austerity policies, increases in privatization, and reductions in workers' rights. All things that will make that country more receptive to being plundered by capitalist enterprise for pennies on the dollar.

When people think of Haiti, they often think of the abject poverty of the nation. But why is it poor? Going into the 1800s, it was the most productive and wealthy colony on the planet.

In 1825, after the slave revolution that killed French slavers and burned down French slave plantations, France threatened Haiti with massive military action to retake the island unless they paid the debt for the loss of the profitable slave plantations. Other nations friendly with the French Empire also piled on, including the USA. Haiti was forced to agree to pay France back for the loss of the plantations, plus give them a 50% discount on exports, which would make repayment that much harder.

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u/[deleted] 13d ago

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u/talk_to_me_goose 13d ago

Single-use, composting containers are absolutely necessary at scale. Plastic has to be clean to get recycled (if it's recyclable at all). How much plastic is used for bags, food containers, utensils? Who wastes water to wash these things? It's irrational. Throw it in a compost pile and be done with it.

I am incredibly grateful for our municipal composting service and I have a pile of my own. There is so much less thrown in the trash.

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u/FunnyItWorkedLastTim 13d ago

That first two Rs doesn't really jive with capitalism, unfortunately, and capital makes most of the decisions in our governments.

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u/YoungZM 13d ago

Of course. I very much see the new future-forward green movement ironically working against this the most. Sustainably made items that are intended to degrade rapidly to create a sustainable consumption/capitalist economy. It'll be its own painful irony in and of itself if it ends up coming to fruition.

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u/swamphockey 13d ago

The issue is in no way “solved”. Goodness sake. Why is trash being disposed into the rivers and oceans in the first place?

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u/AdviceNotAskedFor 13d ago

As with most environmental issues, I think the only real solution is that we will need to geoengineer our way out of all of this mess.

No way we ban single use plastic. Even if we could in the US, poorer countries wouldn't be able to do it. Everytime there is a water crisis in America and they are showing pictures of the National Guard handing out bottles of water to all the citizens, all i can think of is.. why bottles!? Why not five gallon jugs and a dispenser?.. I digress.. I just see no way out of this plastic mess.

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u/PsychologicalNews573 13d ago

Budweiser cans water for disasters - aluminum is easier to recycle. Just a smidge better than handing out water bottles, but if there was a clean way to Dispense from a common source, that would be good. But how many people would have something to put their ration of water in? In a disaster, people are looking towards survival, not the 3 R's.

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u/rvgirl42 13d ago

This is what I don’t get. I grew up only with glass and aluminum. There were no plastic bottles at all. I’ve seen a world without this and the human race didn’t didn’t die. Plastic is convenient for corporations and toxic for humans. Glass and aluminum also provided small amounts of deposit revenue for recycling for people.

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u/tossme68 13d ago

there was a time not so long ago that an entire planet survived without bottled water, in fact the idea of purchasing a single serving bottle of water was laughable. People just need to get their collective heads out of their rears for a moment and do the right thing. As you said, there's no reason why water can't be dispensed in 3gallon jugs opposed to cases of single serving bottles.

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u/Klutzy-Resolution-87 13d ago

It’s nuts as it wasn’t even that long ago that the idea of paying money for single serve bottled water seemed insane to the average person—it was the 90s. Outside of mineral water like Perrier you rarely even saw it sold. Such a strange and sudden shift.

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u/I-Make-Maps91 13d ago

No need for 3 gallon jugs when reusable containers already exist.

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u/PaxNova 13d ago

why bottles!? Why not five gallon jugs and a dispenser?

It's not just the army taking it to a dispensing site. The citizens have to take them back home. Older and younger people aren't carrying five gallon jugs. Bottling plants are also geared towards smaller bottles and cans, which can be appropriated (or usually donated) quickly.

Without refrigeration, opened standing water stays at top quality for about 3 days. Admittedly, that's not a concern in an emergency as it's still very potable.

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u/WombatusMighty 13d ago edited 7d ago Gold Helpful Wholesome

Posting this here as well so it doesn't get lost:

The Ocean Cleanup is (or has become) a greenwashing operation, funded by the industries that are responsible for the plastic pollution, to make people feel like something is done so that they don't demand action being taken against the plastic industry & the practises that lead to the plastic pollution in the oceans.

I added a short list of better actions at the bottom of this comment.

This startup hasn't produced any viable results in the 9 years they operate now, despite having over $51 million in funds (at 2020).

People often don't realize how massive the ocean is; The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) alone has an estimated size of 1,600,000 square kilometres (620,000 sq mi). That is "about twice the size of Texas or three times the size of France": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Pacific_garbage_patch#Size_estimates and the GPGP is only a tiny fraction of the overall ocean size.

Now considering that over 99,8% of the plastic in the oceans is well below the ocean surface: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/03/science/ocean-plastic-animals.html The Ocean Cleanup is lying when they say they will eliminate plastic (in the GPGP), their method can barely catch less than 1% of the oceans plastic.

It would take them hundreds of ships for the GPGP alone, constantly driving around, and the CO2 emissions from these ships would outweigh any positive impact they make on the little surface plastic they could actually catch.

Also, many scientists worry that flashy efforts to clean plastic from the ocean do more harm than good: https://www.vox.com/down-to-earth/22949475/ocean-plastic-pollution-cleanup

An two marine biologists call their latest video staged bullshit: https://twitter.com/ClarkGRichards/status/1493421041976320001 & https://twitter.com/MiriamGoldste/status/1494682706621440000

More criticism of their methods: https://hakaimagazine.com/features/scooping-plastic-out-of-the-ocean-is-a-losing-game/ & https://www.wired.com/story/ocean-cleanups-plastic-catcher/ & https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/ocean-cleanup-device-breaks-down-well-ridding-pacific-plastics-n954446 & https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-09/this-thiel-backed-startup-says-it-can-swiffer-the-seas-scientists-have-doubts

It has been funded, besides angel investors, by industries like Coca-Cola - considered one of the leading plastic polluters in the world: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/dec/07/coca-cola-pepsi-and-nestle-named-top-plastic-polluters-for-third-year-in-a-row

Royal DSM - a leading plastic producer, who is among a self-styled alliance to greenwash themselves while investiong billions into new plastic producing plants: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/21/founders-of-plastic-waste-alliance-investing-billions-in-new-plants

And A.P. Moller Maersk - who just this year decided they will NOT join other companies who stopped shipping plastic waste over the oceans to poor nations: https://plasticchange.org/maersk-stop-shipping-plastic-waste/

You can see their funding partners in their own website: https://theoceancleanup.com/partners/

It's a startup with millions of dollars of funding, no viable results after 9 years of operation, in partnership with the very industries that pollute the oceans in the first place.

Their secondary method of catching plastic waste inside rivers is a much better idea, but I presume that doesn't get them the same headlines and funding - as it's much less flashy.

Instead we need to prevent new plastic waste to enter oceans. We have to lobby our politicians to hold the plastic industry accountable & outlaw single use plastic.
We furthermore have to use the funding instead on education about plastic waste & in small actions like cleaning up beaches, stop eating fish (as the majority of the oceanic plastic waste comes from industrial fishing nets) and to invest in plastic alternatives based on natural, ecofriendly materials (like fungi or algea).

I am right now working on a list of organisations that work on the plastic waste problem with better methods, and options for what we as consumers can do. I will add a link to that here when it's done & make a post about in this sub.

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u/Viper_63 13d ago

This should indeed be the top comment, if not pinned. Yes, this is greenwashing operation, and yes, the claims being made are absolute BS.

Even they somehow "scaled up" their operations, it would not elimnate the garbage patch - if anything it would simply shift the size ratio.

As others have pointed out, the only way to clean up the patch is to stop plastic pollution - which the Ocean cleanup does nothing to achieve.

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u/MyBallsAreOnFir3 13d ago

This should be the top comment. People are being sold "feel good" stories that are nothing but propaganda. It's time we wake up and make some real effort to fight plastic and end our dependence on oil products.

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u/Liirin 12d ago

But, realistically, the fishing companies are the ones that have created The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. (Mobile, so apologies)

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/great-pacific-garbage-patch-plastics-environment

https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/environment/a19574763/garbage-patch-fishing/

https://theoceancleanup.com/press/press-releases/over-75-of-plastic-in-great-pacific-garbage-patch-originates-from-fishing/

So if you want to get rid of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the very first thing to do is stop supporting the fishing industry. The second is to demand better oversight for them. Currently the industry is deeply corrupt, with oversight companies either having paid memberships from the supplier (obvious conflict of interest), or sometimes inspectors just straight up go missing.

https://www.iucn.org/content/corruption-fisheries-bad-worse

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jun/20/death-at-sea-the-fisheries-inspectors-who-never-came-home

The takeaway is that funding a company that can even get rid of TGPGP is putting a bandaid on the problem. Our oceans are overfished, full of pollution, full of fishing garbage, and are a major component in climate change.

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u/WombatusMighty 12d ago

You are absolutely correct, hence why I haven't ate fish in over 10 years now. I think most people don't know what eating fish actually does to the oceans, and that the oceans are considered "the lungs of the earth".

The corruption you are speaking about is real, hence why even fish with "sustainable" labels can't be trusted. And that's also the reason why groups like The Ocean Cleanup are a problem, because they give people a false sense of "someone else is taking care of the problem".

Thanks for the good links by the way, I'm saving them!

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u/belonii 13d ago

"The ONLY way to clean up the oceans is by stopping to producing new plastic waste." thats not cleaning, thats stopping it from getting worse.

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u/WombatusMighty 13d ago

You are of course correct, but the sad fact is that it's near impossible to actually clean up the oceans, the damage is already done.

99.8 percent of plastic that entered the ocean since 1950 had sunk below the first few hundred feet of the ocean. Scientists have found 10,000 times more microplastics on the seafloor than in contaminated surface waters.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/03/science/ocean-plastic-animals.html

We have no real method to clean these up, and methods like 'The Ocean Cleanup' are wholly ineffectual. Thus we have to prevent more plastic to enter the oceans and hopefully someday find a solution for the microplastics in the environment to be removed.

That or hope that it naturally breaks down over the nest thousand years and the oceans become clean again.

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u/Insectophile 13d ago

Thank you, was going to say this but you did it far better and with far more evidence than I would have. Have this award I got for free!

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u/presque-veux 13d ago

Perfect is the enemy of the good. What do you propose instead - policy?

If yes then why not attempt both - proactive and reactive solutions?

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u/FartButt_ButtFart 12d ago

This really isn't "letting the perfect be the enemy of the good", it's "letting the effective be the enemy of the ineffective". From this description the Ocean Cleanup project is about the equivalent to the TSA - they're just theatrics, vague gestures in the general direction of having cleaner oceans but utterly incapable of meaningful improvement.

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u/lutherthegrinch 12d ago

Seems like you misunderstand the critique. There's no 'good' here to be the enemy of perfect--greenwashing efforts actively undermine substantive environmental legislation by redirecting the attention of voters to flashy, hollow or stunts. This is not just an imperfect solution, it's counterproductive and--assuming you support efforts to curb plastic pollution--a bad thing.

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u/MrOrangeWhips 13d ago

I'd say it more suggests the question, it's not begging the question.

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u/lamarjacksonMVP2020 13d ago edited 13d ago

Surprisingly the NGO says it thinks 80% of the plastic in the GPGP comes from fishing

Who is surprised by this? We’ve known for years that the industrial fishing companies are the ones at fault for a vast majority of the garbage in the ocean GPGP.

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u/JJayxi 13d ago

Government banning plastic straws and subsidizing fishing "yeah, we're doing our utmost best to reduce the plastic in the ocean"

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u/lamarjacksonMVP2020 13d ago

It’s all PR and boy do people eat it up. There was a good period of time in the last year or 2 where people would get loudly attacked if they dared to use a plastic straw. The government tricked everyone into thinking we were the problem.

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u/t0xic1ty 13d ago

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u/lamarjacksonMVP2020 13d ago

Definitely meant to say the GPGP and got carried away and said ocean instead, my fault. I was surprised to read though that 10% of the entire oceans pollution does come from commercial fishing, more than I would have guessed considering they’re competing with countries with billions of people.

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u/suchahotmess 12d ago

I think a large part of that is that so many fishing plastics seem to be effectively single use, and they go straight into the water when they’re discarded.

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u/queen-of-carthage 13d ago

The problem will only be solved when we stop producing plastic.

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u/Munnin41 13d ago

Nah, that's not the only solution. Bioplastics work too. Just make em non poisonous and biodegradable. We can make plastic with starch now

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u/SydricVym 13d ago

If that's the only way to solve it, then it won't be solved. Plastics are enormously important in medicine as they provide flexible, sanitary, materials, that can be formed into any shape and any size. Patient outcomes have increased dramatically from when we used glass and rubber for everything.

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u/Ok-Relationship-2746 13d ago

The only thing I can think of is that a good deal of it is ending up on the bottom of the ocean, or washed up on beaches.

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u/mistrpopo 13d ago

We know vast amounts of other plastic waste is entering the oceans, which begs the questions - where is it ending up?

The GPGP is mostly fishing gear because that's the only plastic that ends up there. Most of the plastic entering the oceans via other means (rivers, wind, etc) actually gets washed up back on coast land.

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u/ButtercupsUncle 13d ago

Incorrect use of "begs the question" - there should be a bot for that.

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u/Chairman_Mittens 13d ago

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

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u/DirtySingh 13d ago

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

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u/unholyarmy 13d ago

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%.

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u/TW1TCHYGAM3R 13d ago

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%.

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u/LukeSykpe 13d ago

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.

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u/skunk_ink 12d ago

IF their claim is correct and they have indeed cleaned up 1/1000 of the patch. It has taken them 5 years to accomplish just that. So it would take roughly 5000 years to clean up at this rate.

If 10 companies did this, it is still going to take 500 years.

People greatly underestimate the size and scope of this problem.

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u/fidolio 12d ago

From the article:

“Since deployment in August 2021, System 002 (or “Jenny”) has now collected 101,353 kg of plastic over 45 extractions”.

So it’s been about a year, not 5 years. The author later mentions the company is ready to move into “System 003”, which can handle 10 times the amount and packs greater uptime.

If my math is correct this means that with System 003 they’ll be done in ~100 years (Ignoring any technology advances and extra funding or help from other orgs, which would undoubtedly reduce the estimate even further).

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u/JaegerDread 12d ago

I reckon they can be done by 2050 with a big investment and more companies joining in.

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u/mafiafish 13d ago edited 13d ago

It's nonsense- Ocean Cleanup started out well-intentioned but patently useless and has devolved into an awful display trying to justify its existence and philanthropic funding.

Their efforts with river output is much better, but mostly uses existing technology employed the world over.

Edit - sources.

https://www.deepseanews.com/tag/ocean-cleanup/

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.vox.com/platform/amp/down-to-earth/22949475/ocean-plastic-pollution-cleanup

https://www.southernfriedscience.com/i-asked-15-ocean-plastic-pollution-experts-about-the-ocean-cleanup-project-and-they-have-concerns/

https://www.greenmatters.com/p/the-ocean-cleanup-controversy

There are few academic papers on the specific topic of oceancleanup and most are authored by the company itself. There are also a lot of issues with microplastic research at the best of times as a hot topic with ever-changing methologies.

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u/mib_sum1ls 13d ago

thank you for your concise rebuttal. I read the articles you linked and this is exactly the info I come to the comments section for.

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u/mafiafish 13d ago

You're very welcome. I'm not trying to be negative, just cautioning against uncritical acceptance of what an NGO says.

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u/Dubsland12 13d ago Wholesome

This is good But…..

Only an estimated 1% is on the surface. 94%sinks to the bottom

We need to stop it before it gets in the water, or more realistically just quit making it. https://eufactcheck.eu/factcheck/true-at-least-30-times-more-plastic-on-the-bottom-of-the-ocean-than-on-the-surface/#:~:text=All%20over%20the%20world%20we,are%20found%20at%20the%20bottom.

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u/petruskax 13d ago

Micro plastics are already everywhere.

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u/vbun03 13d ago

In the rain, in the rivers, in crops, in our blood, in placenta of newborns...

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u/Yakima42 12d ago

On the couch, in the car, up against the mini-bar.

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u/miggly 12d ago

You're fucking Matt Damon?

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u/Yakima42 12d ago

I'm sorry but its true...

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u/WolfCola4 13d ago

Big industry stopping making plastics is sadly not more realistic by a long way

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u/say592 12d ago

Tackling single use plastics is an important first step and is far more realistic. Plastic would never be the first choice for something that will be thrown away.

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u/PreferenceHot8715 13d ago

A bandaid for a burst artery, can’t say it doesn’t help at all but…it ain’t gonna fix much.

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u/pablo_the_bear 13d ago

So just continually working with no end in sight until action is taken to stop flooding the ocean with plastics...

I applaud what they are doing but it makes me angry that they need to exist as a company in the first place.

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u/grendel_x86 13d ago

I feel stopping it from getting there would be more effective. International treaties on fishing can mandate the big fishing companies to clean up their nets. Or make them pay a % of cleanup. Fine then if they show back up to port with fewer nets. I remember someone who worked on these ships said (on reddit, so true?) they just dump bad nets over.

Same with ships garbage. Make them hold until they hit port.

Most plastic is from large fisheries. They muddy the waters blaming small ones too.

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u/pablo_the_bear 13d ago

I'm skeptical that all countries would hold their fishermen accountable, that is even if they signed a treaty in the first place. China, for example, routinely has fishing boats off the coast of South America and they don't operate with transponders on.

Not everyone is operating using the same rules and there is no universal governing body that can effectively enforce any rules.

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u/grendel_x86 13d ago

Don't need full compliance, 10% would make a meaningful impact.

Stop letting "but China!" Stop us from doing anything. Perfection is the enemy of progress.

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u/Kirk_Kerman 13d ago

Also, hit them with sovereignty. Mystery ships poaching in your waters with stealth mode on? Arrest the crews and commandeer the ships into your own mercantile fleets.

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u/Eric1491625 13d ago

The thing is, the vast majority of fishing boats don't actually cross the boundary, they stay just outside it.

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u/[deleted] 13d ago

[deleted]

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u/nictheman123 13d ago

While I agree with you in principle, I will remind you: wars have been started over less.

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u/happy-facade 13d ago

nirvana fallacy.

yeah, mandating fishing won’t stop ALL plastic waste, but certainly enough to warrant a mandate.

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u/drewbreeezy 13d ago

Yes, and no.

If you mandate in one country, but another country makes no mandates and easy to register there then most large companies will do that. We see it with how they register to dodge taxes and have more favorable laws. (Delaware. Ireland)

This isn't saying don't add mandates, but instead simply seeing the world how it operates instead of how I wish it would.

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u/cariocano 13d ago

They also stop it from getting there. They have two main projects. One is an autonomous cleanup system in the great garbage patch. The other is tackling the rivers that pollute the most. The company is the ocean cleanup project and they’re an awesome company to donate to.

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u/extremely_impolite 13d ago

Here's a video of it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rVTWsQ23Pk

There's still a very valid case to be made for doing stuff at municipal levels to keep things from getting into the rivers to begin with. But that kind of stuff takes time. If giant river fences can help in the interim, that's a good thing. I'm also a little exhausted by the continued cynicism toward the Ocean Cleanup guys. They've passed the "talk" phase and made much more progress than anyone expected in a very short amount of time.

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u/grendel_x86 13d ago

The river pollution project is significant, but not the largest source.

One of the team-seas video puts it at like 10%. It's a lot, and import, but this is one of those things that we can do both, independently.

We have lots of garbage to clean up. We will never get most of it cleaned up if we don't attack the main source, commercial fishing.

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u/freexe 13d ago

The biggest thing to happen is that because nets are made of high quality plastics a market has developed for used nets which has made it economical for them to bring their nets back to sell.

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u/Happy_Nidoking 13d ago

Look up Fishy Filaments in Cornwall, UK. They're taking used fishing nets to turn into use as 3D printing plastic at commercial level.

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u/Mr_Hu-Man 13d ago

Here’s the thing; that same country is doing exactly that: building river cleanup operations and machinery that stops plastic entering the oceans in the first place

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u/grendel_x86 13d ago

Yep. It's pretty crazy seeing it in action stopping trash from getting to the ocean is important.

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u/No-Definition1474 13d ago

The navy waits until they're out far enough and then unload everything in the water. I worked with an old Navy man and he would tell stories about the snail trail they would leave in the ocean for miles and miles. There are all kinds of rules about what they can dump, when and where, but they don't follow them. Oil, trash, sewage. You name it. Imagine the trash that a mobile city generates. All of it, the power plant trash the food waste, the human waste. Everything goes into the ocean.

It's honestly not something we can fix easily either because doing so directly contradicts the armed forces primary directive. Combat readiness. The moment a ship is busy unloading trash is the moment they're no longer ready to respond to a threat. That's how it will always be viewed.

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u/Shwifty_Plumbus 13d ago

When I was younger I watched fishing boats dump car batteries straight into the ocean. Made me sick.

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u/plippityploppitypoop 13d ago

If I have to choose between theoretical prevention and actual real mitigation, I’d choose the real one.

But I don’t have to choose.

Do both.

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u/Nuclear_rabbit 12d ago

A lot of ocean waste is river discharge in Asian countries. If international partnerships funnel a few billions into landfills, garbage trucks, and waste management personnel for strategic Asian cities, that would be the most cleanup for the fewest dollars.

Maybe some would go for it. Unfortunately China would refuse every such offer.

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u/zortlord 13d ago

Treaties, laws, and agreements are just lip service without enforcement. And how would everyone enforce that fisheries clean up their trash?

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u/grendel_x86 13d ago

Spot checks. Ship shows up to port with no trash or no nets, you know what they did.

The threat of strict regulation has been effective in the past. We don't need 100% compliance, even 10% would make more of an impact than the rate the company in this article can clean up.

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u/zortlord 13d ago

Spot checks. Ship shows up to port with no trash or no nets, you know what they did.

"Our net got stuck on something on the seafloor and we had to cut it loose."

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u/AdultInslowmotion 13d ago

Then they still pay a fine for that.

Again, it’s not that there are no loopholes it’s just enforcing SOME compliance would be an improvement.

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u/froggison 13d ago

I feel stopping it from getting there would be more effective

I know the rest of your comment is about fishing (and we need to do something about that), but The Ocean Cleanup also builds and deploys river interceptors in polluted rivers, that stop trash from flowing into the ocean.

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u/Uberzwerg 13d ago

be more effective

While you're 100% right, it's VERY complicated to reach all sources. Helping the poorest of the poor to get access to sane waste management in every relevant country is a huge undertaking (and must be done). Getting poor fishermen (and bigger fishery industry)to undertandand care is also important.

While thousands of initiatives could and should work on that with all the regional politics standing in their ways, we can already start to clean up the mess at hand.

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u/QYB1990 13d ago

They (The ocean cleanup) are working on that too.

"The interceptor" is their "River cleanup".

Take a look on YouTube, That thing is awesome.

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u/FredsMayonaise 13d ago

That avalanche of plastic gave me nightmares.

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u/JoeyTheGreek 13d ago

Like living in Minnesota and cutting the can holders to protect sea turtles. Why was my can holder make it into an ocean!?

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u/Stratocast7 13d ago

The US for a long time was selling waste to China to process. Not much effort was put into getting it all there without any getting into the ocean via shipping.

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u/ScoobyDont06 13d ago

Can holders should be that reusable hard plastic instead of the shitty thin stuff.

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u/ezirb7 13d ago

The energy/water to return and process reusable packaging to use it for another 6 pack probably eliminates most of the benefit. If it's thrown into a recycling pile to be sorted and sent to a canning center, it probably also needs to be washed of all the soda/juice/etc that ends up in the recycling.

I know there are some that cans can pop back into, but that seems limited to use if you pick up your soda and beer cans locally, and doesn't help with shipping to grocery/liquor stores.

I think cardboard and compostable replacements would be a better overall.

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u/FruscianteDebutante 13d ago

You're angry that a company exists to solve a problem that humanity has? That's like the core reason for a company to exist

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u/rickert1337 13d ago

Be glad they do it, it wont clean itself.. its a great start

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u/I_offended_you 13d ago

In the developed western world (because too hard to get the other countries like China on board)

We should force companies producing plastics or importing plastics to pay for these sort of things.

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u/swamphockey 13d ago

“I clean up the ocean, and they call me a saint. I ask why the ocean is filled with trash and they call me a communist.”

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u/dirtybird971 13d ago

what they need to do is turn it into a controllable unit for a game. Gamers would have it cleaned up in weeks

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u/Naresr 13d ago

or crashing it the first day trying to draw dick pic.

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u/MAK3AWiiSH 13d ago

I’ve been following this NGO since 2015 and I’m so happy he proved all the naysayers wrong.

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u/Anokest 13d ago

I think it's so freaking awesome that he developed the basic idea for the Ocean Cleanup for a paper in high school at probably 17/18 years old.

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u/blueberrysir 13d ago

What? Really?

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u/Anokest 13d ago

Yes really! It's mentioned briefly on the English wikipedia site. Other sources are in Dutch so less helpful probably.

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u/Acing_the_sex_exam 13d ago

The naysayers have been saying this cannot scale, can only tackle a small portion of waste in the ocean and that the entire thing is a dead-end meant to keep people from calling for more regulations on ocean polluters such as Maersk and Coca-Cola, sponsors of this project.

This hasn't proved anyone wrong. Saying that with just 2,000 ships, you can dregde the entire Great Pacific Patch should already point out how this idea just doesn't scale.

Not to mention that low estimates put the amount of plastic dumped in the ocean each year at about 5 million tonnes. Start seeing what your country is doing to stop the dumping of plastic into the ocean and call on companies like The Ocean Foundation sponsor, Coca-Cola, to reduce the amount of plastic they use (they currently use 3 million tons per year, with about 25% of it being recycled, so they alone are dumping about 20 times more than OF just dredged up).

You might as well feel proud about how much we're doing for animal welfare when the president pardons the turkey.

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u/rafter613 13d ago

"we managed to do a tenth of the percent of the total work that needs to be done!" See, I told you they could do it!

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u/[deleted] 13d ago

He had so many people constantly telling him that he was young and that it wouldn't work etc and each time he has shown that it works

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u/hemigrapsus_ 13d ago

The issue with this NGO is they've spent an inordinate amount of money doing just a little over the last few years. Meanwhile, there are organizations that get very little support but consistently clean up hundreds of thousands of pounds of debris a year. The Papahānaumokuākea Marine Debris Project (https://www.pmdphawaii.org/) removed 8,000 lbs of nets yesterday from the remote Hawaiian Islands, which get hit by the Pacific Current. It's inefficient to keep pouring money into The Ocean Cleanup Project when there are underfunded groups that are consistently making a difference where it very much matters.

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u/squirrel_girl 13d ago

I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but you might want to Google "philanthro-capitalism". This NGO appears to do nothing more than PR stunts for their corporate sponsors (mega polluters like Coca-Cola, Maersk, etc.) These PR stunts that this NGO performs allow those sponsors to buy positive publicity and escape accountability for their disastrous environmental practices.

Instead of supporting NGOs like this, in order to stop pollution, we need to hold the polluters accountable.

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u/The_Hot_Stepper 13d ago

Take THAT Austin Powers’ dad! The Dutch are doing awesome work here.

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u/Nergaal 13d ago

just a reminder that THIS garbage patch is why we don't have plastic straws anymore

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u/mississauga145 13d ago

So we are going to kick the crap out of the patch until it gives us back our straws?

I'm in!

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u/Fix_a_Fix 13d ago

I thought it was because the fishing industry and Coca-Cola were tryharding to shift the blame of plastic pollution from their crap to a usage of plastic that doesn't even cover 0.001% of global plastic usage

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u/NorionV 13d ago

You would be correct.

And it largely worked, since people are still bickering about the fucking straws.

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u/MagusUmbraCallidus 13d ago

What straws do you have? They still use plastic ones where I live, but the US is pretty bad about still using stuff like that.

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u/THEBLOODYGAVEL 13d ago

After reading the comments: just nuke the fucking planet already

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u/mib_sum1ls 13d ago

I would love to take this as positive news but unfortunately the truth is a bit more complex.

https://www.southernfriedscience.com/i-asked-15-ocean-plastic-pollution-experts-about-the-ocean-cleanup-project-and-they-have-concerns/

Overall concerns include a lack of understanding of the problem (including but not limited to the fact that much of the harmful ocean plastic is small and well-dispersed), insufficient structural integrity for a large object that will be deployed in the open ocean (which would result in the object breaking and creating even more ocean garbage), and the fact that this device is designed to aggregate objects of a certain size to remove them from the water but cannot distinguish between plastic and living things.

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u/matthew83128 13d ago

It’s awesome they’re cleaning it up, but it doesn’t really explain where it’s going.

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u/emomatt 13d ago

They have been using it to make recycled plastic luxury products. The cost of removal makes them not able to directly compete with normal plastic recyclers, so they have to increase the perceived worth of their product. You can buy a pair of their sunglasses for a $200 'donation.' I have a pair and they are pretty dope!

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u/rhbast2 13d ago

You have to think almost anywhere would beat the ocean.

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u/chase_phish 13d ago

At this point we should just dig a deep pit, toss all plastics in there, let the earth turn it back into petroleum and leave it alone.

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u/J_Arimateia 13d ago All-Seeing Upvote

That's how we can find out whether this "save the planet" thing is a scam or not. If this guy gets the funding he needs, then governments are serious about resolving this problem. If he does not get the funding he needs, it shows that people profit more about talking about the problem than resolving it.

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u/Johannes_Keppler 13d ago

It's not a scam as such, but it's more about spreading awareness than about actually cleaning up the oceans.

Even if we can fish out all big pieces of plastic floating around (some plastic is heavier than water and sinks, this method does nothing for that) there's still micro plastics everywhere.

Only real solution is that as a society we need to stop using plastics as much as possible.

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u/WombatusMighty 13d ago

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 13d ago

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/RedSarc ZerstörungDurchFortschritteDerTechnologie 13d ago edited 13d ago

How does one eliminate that which can never be broken down?

The Ocean Cleanup tech can collect but I don’t see anything in the brochure about eliminating.

I wholly understand the existential problem, but at the end of the day this ‘problem’ is not thought of as a problem but instead an externalized cost from the profit-imperative gluttonolgy pervading all sectors.

I admire the Climate and Environment warriors like Winona LaDuke and Greta Thunberg as well as the millions of ambassadors and activists.

But the adults surrounding young Greta, while supportive of her activism, seemingly have failed to acknowledge and convey to her one simple yet indisputable truth:

There is no profit in sustainable living

For profit-seeking economics to work, everything and everyone must be expendable and exploitable.

The revolution will not be televised…

🎤

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u/showusyourbones 13d ago

I think they mean eliminate from the Ocean. There are many promising ideas on how to break down plastics faster, though.

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u/OrionJohnson 13d ago

A lot of thought is going into how to reuse the many different types of plastics and turn them into building material. This is a good solution vs making them into recycled single use plastic items that will just end up being more pollution. Some start up is working on making them into blocks that can serve as a foundation for buildings that can last for decades

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u/TweakedMonkey 13d ago

I'm wondering why these plastics can't be ground up and used mixed with asphalt to make roads. Is this possible?

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u/xenoterranos 13d ago

The problem seems to be that plastics in the wild inevitably turn into microplastics in our food and water supply. Controlled decomposition of existing plastics is probably the safest bet, but barring that, sequestration might be our only recourse.

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u/Jaytalvapes 13d ago

Sequestration seems the best idea. I'd imagine a massive, super thick walled concrete dome somewhere could hold all of the plastic in the world, melted down to a hard pack pellet.

Granted, it would be a massive pellet but still. Unless the plastic eating bacteria ends up working, I don't see another way.

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u/Fightmasterr 13d ago

Because microplastics? Just because you mix it with asphalt doesn't mean plastic won't get broken down and seeping into the environment.

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u/Fierce_Lito 13d ago

Turning plastics into building materials turns the problem in to a micro environment issue. THe plastic still breaks down, the local water will be unusable. Every time that Kenyan woman's program to turn bottles in to pavers/bricks is shown on Reddit, actual scientists have to come in and refute the insanity of that do-gooder PR campaign.

This goes just as well for recycled plastic athleisure wear in the first world too, (i.e. fleece and yoga attire, etc) the microfiber breakdown is now the second leading cause of household toxins behind cleaning chemicals.

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u/Llamadmiral 13d ago

Don't worry, it will be towed outside of the environment

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u/Newish_Username 13d ago

They can't be broken down yet. We can still figure this out. But we also need a solution for right now.

To quote a favorite song of mine:

If you don't do small things, just because big things exist, makes you a giant piece of shit.

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u/SexyBigEyebrowz 13d ago

There has been research into bacteria that eats petg bottles. It's either that or sorting and recycling into new products. No private company is going to fund the collection of plastic for no reason other than to eliminate it from the ocean, unless they can get government funding for cleanup.

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u/dadrewbear420 13d ago

I fist heard of trash mountain like 20 years ago. I’m glad us humans are so poignant…

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u/bunditbundit 13d ago

Great, now go dump all those plastics on the executives lawn of all the major petroleum producers

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u/BrocoliAssassin 13d ago

Always love seeing the updates on this. I remember when he first started doing this there was a flood of negative articles on how it would never work.

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u/etopata 13d ago

I wonder what kind of cool shit they're finding in the pile.

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u/tamaledevourer 13d ago

isnt the real impact of the pacific garbage patch already set in stone? it’s the microscopic pieces of plastic that have spread throughout the ocean that is the real issue. im sure getting the big patch out helps, but do we have any viable way of filtering the oceans for microplastics? i dont think it would ever be viable to do so

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u/areyoucupid 13d ago

Eliminate it completely? This phrase should not even be allowed knowing that human beings (dump sites, cruise ships, beach goers, industries etc) will continue to pollute beaches, oceans forever and ever. “Keep removing garbage continuously” is a phrase we can allow I think.

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u/WombatusMighty 13d ago edited 13d ago

Considering that over 99,8% of the plastic in the oceans is well below the ocean surface: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/03/science/ocean-plastic-animals.html

The Ocean Cleanup should indeed NOT use that phrase as it's a pure lie, their method can barely catch less than 1% of the oceans plastic, and even that only if they employed millions of these ships.

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u/squirrel_girl 13d ago

Sorry to expose the dark side of operations like this, but this is a prime example of philanthro-capitalism. Go to the website of this organization, go to "partners" and you'll find Maersk and Coca-Cola as the top 2. These companies make obscene profits by releasing greenhouse gases and plastic pollution. Funding this operation is hardly a drop in the ocean (excuse the pun) in terms of environmental impact but it allows these corporate funders to buy good press and escape accountability for their crimes against nature. In short: this is a PR stunt.

Here's a documentary that explains philanthro-capitalism further: https://youtu.be/svHCXvQeZfY

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u/WombatusMighty 13d ago edited 13d ago Silver Wholesome

The Ocean Cleanup is (or has become) a greenwashing operation, funded by the industries that are responsible for the plastic pollution, to make people feel like something is done so that they don't demand action being taken against the plastic industry & the practises that lead to the plastic pollution in the oceans.

This startup hasn't produced any viable results in the 9 years they operate now, despite having over $51 million in funds (at 2020).

Considering that over 99,8% of the plastic in the oceans is well below the ocean surface: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/03/science/ocean-plastic-animals.html The Ocean Cleanup is lying when they say they will eliminate plastic, their method can barely catch less than 1% of the oceans plastic, and even that only if they employed millions of these ships.

Many scientists worry that flashy efforts to clean plastic from the ocean do more harm than good: https://www.vox.com/down-to-earth/22949475/ocean-plastic-pollution-cleanup

An two marine biologists call their latest video staged bullshit: https://twitter.com/ClarkGRichards/status/1493421041976320001 & https://twitter.com/MiriamGoldste/status/1494682706621440000

More criticism of their methods: https://hakaimagazine.com/features/scooping-plastic-out-of-the-ocean-is-a-losing-game/ & https://www.wired.com/story/ocean-cleanups-plastic-catcher/ & https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/ocean-cleanup-device-breaks-down-well-ridding-pacific-plastics-n954446 & https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-09/this-thiel-backed-startup-says-it-can-swiffer-the-seas-scientists-have-doubts

It has been funded, besides angel investors, by industries like Coca-Cola - considered one of the leading plastic polluters in the world: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/dec/07/coca-cola-pepsi-and-nestle-named-top-plastic-polluters-for-third-year-in-a-row

Royal DSM - a leading plastic producer, who is among a self-styled alliance to greenwash themselves while investiong billions into new plastic producing plants: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/21/founders-of-plastic-waste-alliance-investing-billions-in-new-plants

And A.P. Moller Maersk - who just this year decided they will NOT join other companies who stopped shipping plastic waste over the oceans to poor nations: https://plasticchange.org/maersk-stop-shipping-plastic-waste/

You can see their funding partners in their own website: https://theoceancleanup.com/partners/

The ONLY way to clean up the oceans is by stopping to producing new plastic waste. The absolute majority of the ocean plastic is in microparticles, well below the ocean surface. There is simply no method to clean the oceans up all of the already existing plastic. And the Ocean Cleanup knows this.

It's a startup from a kid with good intentions, with millions of dollars of funding, no viable results after 9 years of operation, in partnership with the very industries that pollute the oceans in the first place.

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u/Background-Crab9799 13d ago

I came here to ask about this as I have heard both their claims and your statements before. I’m really intrigued by what you’re sharing. Would you be able to point me in the direction of trustworthy sources that present this argument further? If you’re a researcher / expert I am not doubting your work and would love to learn more from you as well. Thank you in advance!

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u/WombatusMighty 13d ago

I posted links to articles in my original comment.

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u/Background-Crab9799 13d ago

Sorry that I somehow missed that. Thanks for sharing.

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u/WombatusMighty 13d ago

No problem, Reddit is really a nightmare for keeping an overview of what is posted where and when.

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u/Northanui 13d ago edited 13d ago

The one you linked under "It has been funded, besides angel investors, by industries like Coca-Cola" provides literally not a single sentence even relating to that,

and the first one you link below "Heavily criticized by environmentalists" is an article describing an instance where a single machine broke down, Boyan Slatt not being worried about the setback, and some random dipshit saying like two critical statements about it.

This seems more like you have initial bias against this company, for god knows what reason.

Also calling Ocean Cleanup a "feel good" company is misinformative at worst and daft at best. Even if they end up not succeeding eventually and pack it in, what they set out to do initially is noble and extremely useful, despite what you try to make people believe here.

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u/WombatusMighty 13d ago edited 13d ago

The links are about these companies and how they are responsible for plastic pollution. You can see on the Ocean Cleanups own website that they are funded by these companies: https://theoceancleanup.com/partners/

And no, it is not "extremely useful", they after nine years of operation and over 51 million dollars of funding have not yet made any viable progress in actually cleaning up the pacific garbage patch.

Furthermore, they concede themselves they would need hundred of millions of dollars to clean up the Pacific Garbage Patch alone, which is a small percentage of the total oceans plastic.

And lastly, they can NOT eliminate the oceans plastic despite their claims. Over 98% of the ocean plastic is A) well below the ocean surface, so their technique cannot catch it and B) is microplastic, which will just go through their nets.

I have nothing against their effort, around 2013 I thought it was a great idea. But I hate how this startup is used by the plastic pollution industry to greenwash themselves & divert attention from what is really needed: to stop plastic waste production & to enact policies that hold these industries accountable. This kid has good intentions, but it has turned into nothing but a million dollar funded feel-good project that won't be able to actually make any impact.

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u/WombatusMighty 13d ago

By the way, I would suggest you read this latest article about it: https://www.vox.com/down-to-earth/22949475/ocean-plastic-pollution-cleanup and these twitter discussions: https://twitter.com/MiriamGoldste/status/1494682706621440000 & https://twitter.com/ClarkGRichards/status/1493421041976320001 where these marine biologists call the latest video from The Ocean Cleanup staged PR bullshit.

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u/Many-Application1297 13d ago

But why? What do the billionaires and corporations gain from this?

Pointless.

/s

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u/Roflrofat 13d ago

A little sad that the /s was even needed

BuT hOw dOeS thIs hELp tHe eCoNomY

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u/Viper_63 13d ago

They get to greenwash their company image, see major sponsors of this company. Easier to deflect criticism then to address the issue of said companies still being resposible for this mess.

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u/Parasthesia 13d ago

Long term investment strategy

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u/Assignment_Leading 13d ago

An excuse to continue polluting is what they will use this as

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u/monosodiumg64 13d ago

I don't believe they haven't come close to cleaning 1/1000tg if the plastic in the GPGP. More likely they are using some dodgy stats and definitions, or they have collected plastic not from the GPGP and a are expressing it as a fraction of what is calculated to be in the GPGP.

Plus they are talking only of the fraction that is floating on the surface. Most plastic is in the water column or on the bottom.

They have been strongly criticised for attracting attention to what is seems as the wrong end of the problem and diverting attention from much more effective strategies that focus on the upstream I.e stop the plastic getting into the rivers that the carry it to the ocean.

Fishing gear is a serious environmental problem and it does not come from rivers but they miss most of that as most of it is submerged.

I doubt the oil it takes to fuel their boat is less than the oil that went into producing the plastic they remove. You would need a huge fleet of these boats to cover even a small fraction of the garbage patch. The back of.my envelope says they haven't swept 1/1000,000 of the pacific.

If you want to know what the Great Pacific Garbage patch actually looks like, take a look at the ocean anywhere: it looks just like normal ocean. It's called a garbage patch because the concentration of garbage is a bit higher than elsewhere but you need to be taking samples and doing the stats to determine that. Its nothing like the floating raft of garbage often seen in media stories.

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u/Fisticles 13d ago

I mean it’s right there in the article:

According to our 2018 study in which we mapped the patch, the total amount of accumulated plastic is 79,000,000 kg, or 100,000,000 kg if we include the Outer GPGP. Thus, if we repeat this 100,000 kg haul 1,000 times – the Great Pacific Garbage Patch will be gone.

Here’s the referenced 2018 study. It’s not precise (and they don’t claim it to be), but they did a lot of work with both aircraft and ships to map and estimate the amount of garbage in the GPGP. Unless you have more evidence than “back of my envelope” math, I think I’ll lean into their study as more accurate.

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u/Viper_63 13d ago

The "article" is an opinion-piece by the company itself, hosted on hte company website. This has not reviewd in any way, nor is this proper jounrlism or an acceptable source for this subreddit. This is straight-up advertising.

An not insignificant ammount of the garbage in the patch is made up of microplastics - and that ratio is groing. Oceancleanup does absoultely nothing to address that becasue they can't. Neither can they "clean up" the garbage patch by doing faulty "back of the envelope calculations" (i.e. "we have cleaned up 1/1000h of it, so we only need to go out another 999 times"). This is absolute BS, and anybody with decent critical thinking skills should be able to point that out.

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u/GreyDeath 13d ago

I.e stop the plastic getting into the rivers that the carry it to the ocean.

They're traying to tackle both sides of the problem, with their use of the river interceptors to stop new plastic from getting to the ocean in the first place.

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u/OverBoard7889 13d ago

Wonderful whataboutisms.

We should just not do anything. Message received.

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u/The-Slithy-Tove 13d ago

I think the message was doing more, more effectively. Working smarter and not harder.

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u/flippant_burgers 13d ago

No but we should recognize when a group is very media savvy and able to get a lot of attention at the expense of others who are already doing a much better job quietly.

https://twitter.com/RebeccaRHelm/status/1572670307411939332?t=Rwu596YSv0830EQ10tYdAQ&s=19

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u/TubbyandthePoo-Bah 13d ago

A population of people just like this who are all trying to fix the planet, and heal the world, held back by less than 0.1% of the population who only want power to feel powerful.

How can they possibly be winning?

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u/CouchoMarx666 13d ago

I’m just constantly appalled at the damage humanity has managed to inflict upon ourselves and the planet in just over 100 years. It’s like 4 generations of people telling the next generation “this is how it’s always been there’s nothing we can do about it” when in fact the answer has been quite clear this whole time; reckless pursuit of capital gains ad infinitum is has been killing us. I enjoy the modern comforts granted to us by this system as much as the next guy but if I were given the choice between living as one of my indigenous ancestors or having microplastics in my blood I would choose the former every time.

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u/Sad_Ambassador_2575 13d ago

Whew, great start. Now if we could just get several other countries to stop dumping waste directly into the waterways we will be in good shape.

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u/xRetz 13d ago

Yeah but there's no profit to be made, so nobody will fund it.
Greed will be our downfall (and in many ways, already has been).

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