Every year 8 million tonnes of plastic ends up in our oceans. By 2025, the number of plastic in the ocean is predicted to double. Currently there 245 million tonnes of plastic floating on the ocean’s surface, but heavier plastics have sunk to the sea floor, where it is impossible to catalogue or quantify. Ocean plastic is dissolving into microplastics, which insidiously work their way into the bodies of fish, birds, and even humans.
There are currently five ‘patches’ of floating plastic and other rubbish in the world’s oceans today, the largest being the Great Pacific Garbage Patch at 1.6 million square kilometres. Made up of over a trillion pieces of plastic, it is three times the size of France.
The plastic is brought to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by converging ocean currents (known as gyres), where it slowly degrades under the effects of the sun, ocean and marine life. Though it was discovered in 1997, relatively little has been done to clean it up and it is growing every year.
Plastic in our seas may seem impossible to clean up, and even for hundreds of people working around the clock, it would be. But autonomous robots can operate independently and clean faster and more efficiently than any human ever could. Here are just some of the robots hoping to clean up the ocean.
Whether by autonomous drones, remote-controlled robots or swarms of conveyor belts, it’s clear that something drastic needs to be happen to clean up the world’s oceans. We’re currently on track to have more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050, at which point it will be too late to save the oceans, and ourselves.
In January, a report from the Environmental Audit Committee concluded that tidal range and tidal stream energy should pl...Read full blog