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

Hi buddy! You know, according to a report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature in 2021, at least 14 million tons of plastic waste is thrown into the sea every year, you know. That’s the equivalent of more than 15,000 statues of Garuda Wisnu Kencana reaching 121 meters in height 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, according to a report by Statista, 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 for messaging, mate.

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 oceans. When the biodiversity report is released, it is estimated that by 2050 the weight of plastic waste will exceed the weight of all marine fish, you know.

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.

To better understand the negative impact of plastic in the sea, you can also try reading the article titled The Impact of Plastic Waste in the Sea, Very Dangerous.

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 to efforts to remove plastic waste from the sea.

Below are examples of these technologies.

Garbage barrier or filter

This first kind of tech is a form of tech whose concept is like fishing nets, mate. 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.

In Indonesia, for example, there is the organization Sungai Watch, founded by Gary Bencheghib, an environmental activist from France who has lived in Indonesia for 20 years, according to a report by KompasTV (2022).

As reported on the Sungai Watch website, 80% of plastic pollution in the ocean comes from rivers. Therefore, they focus on keeping the rivers in Indonesia litter-free.

Well, in their quest they have created a waste barrier made from 100% recycled materials. With this tool, they have been able to collect 349,021 kg of plastic waste since 2020.

To find out what the tool looks like, you can see the photos uploaded to her Instagram account below.

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.

Indonesia is also lucky because it was chosen as one of the countries where the first generation Interceptor was installed. Right in Cengkareng Drainage, DKI Jakarta.

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.

Using nuclear technology to clean up plastic in the ocean

In this modern world, nuclear energy has also started to be used to combat plastic pollution. For example, according to a report by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (2021), Indonesia also supports the implementation of the Nuclear Technology for Controlling Plastic Pollution (NUTEC) program initiated by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Supporting Indonesia is a form of the state’s commitment to eliminating plastic waste, which exists both on land and in the sea. Because the program also has the potential to increase the currently relatively low recycling rate of plastics worldwide through the use of radiation.

Marine Plastic Tracker app

Here we come to the final example, namely the form of advances in information technology that are enabling world citizens to participate in tracking the amount of plastic waste in the oceans.

One application 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? Well, this data is very useful for scientists and also for the government to see the spread of garbage in the world’s oceans. With support, data, solutions, and regulations can be developed to remove plastic waste from the ocean.

Conclude

A World Bank report (2020) states that Indonesia contributes 201.1-552.3 thousand tons of plastic pollution in the sea, equivalent to the weight of 2,000 fully loaded Boeing 747s per year.

Well, after learning about the examples of technologies to eliminate plastic pollution in the sea in this article, hopefully, we both will have renewed hopes for the realization of 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 ocean by replacing the plastic items you use frequently with more environmentally friendly materials.