One non-profit organization is making progress toward its goal of ridding the oceans of plastic by 2040. With its latest haul from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP), The Ocean Cleanup has now removed over 220 tons (200,000 kg) of trash from the sea. It's a stunning achievement that should be applauded, particularly when one realizes that the entire project began thanks to a simple idea by a teenager.
Dutch inventor Boyan Slat is the founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup. Now 28, he was just 16 years old when he wondered why it was so hard to keep plastic out of the ocean. That simple question led to big ambitions, and over the years Slat and his team have tested and improved a mechanism for hauling large quantities of trash from the seas.
System 002/B is the current model at work and has just completed its first haul of 2023. The nearly 7 tons (6,260 kg) of plastic that is extracted pushed the organization over the 220-ton mark. And while this is great progress, there is sadly much more trash where that came from. The GPGP covers an area twice the size of Texas and a 2018 research paper estimated that it contained 87,500 tons of plastic.
So while The Ocean Cleanup has made great progress, there is still a long way to go before the GPGP disappears. Of course, we can all do our part to ensure that there is less plastic around to end up in the ocean. This starts with habits at home and doing away with single-use plastic. While many governments have already banned items like plastic drinking straws and non-biodegradable shopping bags, everyone can do their part. Whether that means purchasing a reusable water bottle or switching to an eco-friendly toothbrush, every little bit helps.
After its first haul of 2023, The Ocean Cleanup has extracted over 220 tons of plastic from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
BREAKING: 200,000 kg of plastic extracted from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
System 002/B has made its first extraction of 2023 – 6260 kg of plastic out of the GPGP, bringing us to an exciting milestone – together, we have cleaned up over 200,000 kg of plastic from the GPGP. pic.twitter.com/wkc0IAW3dl
— The Ocean Cleanup (@TheOceanCleanup) April 4, 2023