In the largest ocean cleaning operation ever conducted, 103 tons of waste were collected from the North Pacific, on the huge plastic island known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Over 100 tons of waste no longer populate marine waters. They have now found a place at a number of collection and recycling centers.
The Ocean Voyages Institute accomplished this monumental task, carrying out a 48-day expedition with the ship “Kwai” which ended in June. It’s a new record.
“I am so proud of our hard working crew,” says Mary Crowley, founder and executive director of Ocean Voyages Institute. “We exceeded our goal of capturing 100 tons of toxic consumer plastics and derelict ‘ghost’ nets, and in these challenging times, we are continuing to helprestore the health of our ocean, which influences our own health and the health of the planet.”Crowley adds: “The oceans can’t wait for these nets and debris to break down into microplastics which impair the ocean’s ability to store carbon and toxify the fragile ocean food web.”
The institute also used drones to locate the correct position of the debris, at which point they are recovered and placed in the hold of the ship, waiting to be delivered to the collection and recycling centers on the mainland.
“There is no cure-all solution to ocean clean-up: It is the long days at sea, with dedicated crew scanning the horizon, grappling nets, and retrieving huge amounts of trash, that makes it happen,” says Locky MacLean, a former director at Sea Shepherd and ocean campaigner in marine conservation for two decades.
The team explains that the solutions adopted by the OVI are scalable so they could also be used elsewhere. The team also aims to triple the amount of research vessels in the North Pacific in 2021:
“We are aiming to expand to other parts of the world desperately needing efficient clean-up technologies.”Crowley adds: “There is no doubt in my mind that our work is making the oceans healthier for the planet and safer for marine wildlife, as these nets will never again entangle or harm a whale, dolphin, turtle or reefs.”
The Ocean Voyages Institute (OVI) was founded in 1979 by Mary T. Crowley. In 2009, she initiated various Pacific Ocean cleanup initiatives and has since continued to work on finding solutions to the problem of ocean waste.
Source: Ocean Voyage Institute