Can We Remove Plastic in the Ocean?
Plastic removal at large-scale is always going to be a major challenge. This becomes an even greater challenge over time, since plastics in the ocean tend to break down into smaller particles (and the smaller they are, they less easy it is to detect and then remove them at scale). Of course the easiest way to mitigate this problem is to stop plastic entering the ocean in the first place. (https://www.naraloca.com/post/how-to-stop-plastic-pollution-in-the-ocean)
But still, we already have a large quantity of plastic in the ocean and this will continue (even if we can begin to reduce the amount that reaches the ocean in the years which follow).
Very small particles (microplastics, for example) are difficult to remove. (Read this article about microplastic https://www.naraloca.com/post/what-is-microplastic ). Technologies being proposed currently for plastic removal therefore tend to focus on larger plastics. The fact that plastic tends to accumulate in gyres at the centre of ocean basins makes this easier: it concentrates plastics for removal.
The removal solution which has received the most attention from investors and researchers is The Ocean Cleanup. They are focusing on one major gyre of plastic: the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Their technology in simple terms deploys buoyant tubes several kilometres in length. The project claim it can capture plastic ranging in size from tens of metres down to 1 cm.
It’s too early to say whether this could be a feasible contribution. You can follow their milestone journey here. They make some bold claims, stating that full deployment of the technology could remove 50% of the plastic within 5 years. The prototype has been proven at various small-scales and in the summer of 2018 launch their first cleanup system in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. If all goes well, their timeline suggests they aim to expand globally in 2020.
https://www.naraloca.com is a recycled plastic specialist that concerned about the earth and environment by promoting the use of recycled PET flakes, recycled PET chips, recycled PP & HDPE granules to various plastic and polyester manufacturers.