The role of technology in cleaning up plastic waste from the ocean


According to a report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature in 2021, at least 14 million tons of plastic waste are thrown into the sea every year, equivalent to more than 15,000 Garuda Wisnu Kencana statues that reach a height of 121 meters in Bali.

With growing concerns about plastic pollution in the world’s oceans, technological innovations have emerged to clean up plastic waste in the oceans.

Technological advances themselves are usually associated with the ease of long-distance communication. For example, smartphones are currently owned by 6.56 billion people in the world. According to a report by Gadget Cover, a 2019 gadget insurance company, it turns out that most smartphones, up to 88%, are used to send messages.

Did you know that you can also track the amount of garbage and plastic pollution in the sea via an application on your smartphone? With today’s communication technology, you can also help to eliminate plastic waste in the sea.

Come learn about the Marine Plastic Waste Tracking Application and other technologies so that you too can more easily contribute to the elimination of marine plastic waste!

Plastic waste in the ocean

Plastic waste is increasingly becoming the scourge of our seas. At the release of the Biodiversity Report, it is estimated that by 2050 the weight of plastic waste will exceed the weight of all marine fish.

This extraordinary marine pollution also negatively affects living beings. Many marine animals, such as fish, turtles, turtles, seals, to birds are killed because they are injured or accidentally eat plastic waste.

Biological Diversity also said that fish in the North Pacific consumes about 12,000 to 14,000 tons of plastic each year. As a result, many discovered that fish sold in California also has plastic fibers in its digestive tract.

The dangers of plastic breaking down into micro- and nano-plastics and the release of toxic chemicals also threaten the health of those who consume marine fish.

Technology for cleaning plastic waste from the ocean

Knowing the seriousness of the problem of plastic pollution in the ocean and the dangers of its impact, many people are starting to find solutions, my friend. Technologies are also one of the keys in efforts to removing plastic waste from the sea. Below are examples of these technologies.

1. Barrier or garbage filter

The first type of technology is a form of technology whose concept is like a fishing net. This garbage filter is installed across the river or sea so that the plastic garbage carried by the current can be caught.

This kind of tool innovation with this concept has been made worldwide with a simple but effective design for cleaning plastic waste. As reported on the Sungai Watch website, 80% of plastic pollution in the ocean comes from rivers. Therefore, they focus on keeping the course of the river free of garbage. So they created a waste barrier from 100% recycled materials. With this tool, they have been able to collect 349,021 kg of plastic waste since 2020.

With a more sophisticated design, The Ocean, an NGO from the Netherlands, made a tool called the Interceptor. This tool also uses the concept of a net, but is more sophisticated, as the interceptor can not only automatically collect garbage in multiple storage boxes, but is also equipped with sensors. This sensor is used to send a message when the memory is full.

As explained on The Ocean Clean Up page, under optimal conditions, the Interceptor can clean up to 50,000 kg of plastic waste per day. Amazingly, all of the electricity needed for this tool comes from eco-friendly solar energy.

2. Extraction of microplastic pollution with magnet

Technology for extracting microplastics using magnets was developed by a 12-year-old boy from Ireland named Fionn Ferreira.

With the launch of the BBC (2021), starting with the manufacture of a microplastic density meter using ultraviolet light, Fionn was finally able to develop a microplastic extraction tool using magnets. Is it true that plastic can be attracted to a magnet?

Fionn had previously made a magnetic solution from vegetable oil and iron oxide powder that attracted microplastics. During extraction with a magnet, the microplastic is attracted together with the magnetic solution and the water is free of microplastic again.

The tool is currently being perfected together with Stress Engineering, an American engineering firm. The plan is that the magnetic extraction tool to be made as small and inexpensive as possible. In this way, the device can be installed in the water pipes of houses and boats to achieve healthier water consumption and prevent microplastics from entering the sea.

3. Marine Plastic Tracker App

A form of advancement in information technology that enables citizens of the world to participate in tracking the amount of plastic waste in the oceans. One of the applications that you can download to your respective smartphone is Debris Tracker. This application allows you to track the amount of plastic waste collected or found and map its location using the Global Positioning System (GPS).

What is the point of collecting data on the amount of plastic waste and its location? This data is useful for both scientists and governments to see the distribution of litter in the world’s oceans. With supporting, data, solutions, and regulations can be developed to remove plastic waste from the ocean.

Hopefully, after learning the examples of technologies to eliminate plastic pollution in the sea in this article, we will all have new hopes of creating a plastic-free world ocean. In addition, you can also get inspiration for similar technological innovations.

You can also help reduce and eliminate plastic waste in the sea by replacing the plastic items you use frequently with more environmentally friendly materials.

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