• Phase 3 of Ocean Cleanup Project extends to Indian Ocean

Water/Wastewater

Phase 3 of Ocean Cleanup Project extends to Indian Ocean

Feb 09 2024

In the ongoing fight against the perils of marine plastic pollution, the Indian Ocean has become a focal point for innovative conservation efforts, spearheaded by The Ocean Cleanup's latest advancement, System 03. This initiative is not merely a continuation but a significant evolution in the quest to tackle the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP), heralding a new era in oceanic preservation. 

System 03, the brainchild of The Ocean Cleanup, stands as a testament to human ingenuity and determination to protect our oceans. With a staggering wing length of 2.2 kilometers, this system is not only nearly triple the size of its predecessor, System 002, but also a crucial step forward in addressing the vast expanse of the GPGP, an area three times the size of France. This ambitious endeavor is crucial, considering the bulk of floating plastic debris resides not on the surface but approximately 4 meters beneath, a challenge System 03 is uniquely equipped to tackle through its extended screen depth, ensuring a significant capture of submerged plastics. 

The journey to deploy System 03 is no small feat, involving a five-day voyage across the ocean. Accompanied by two vessels, the Maersk Tender and the Maersk Trader, this system is towed at a slow pace, carefully navigating through the densest areas of plastic accumulation. This meticulous approach, aided by artificial intelligence and precise monitoring data, maximizes the efficiency of plastic capture. 

Upon reaching its full capacity, the collected debris is transferred to one of the vessels, where it undergoes segregation and packaging, ready to be repurposed. This cycle of collection and recycling embodies The Ocean Cleanup's vision for sustainability, transforming oceanic waste into valuable resources. Notable collaborations, such as with Kia to incorporate GPGP-extracted plastic into new electric vehicles, exemplify the project's innovative approach to recycling. 

System 03 also signifies a leap in ensuring the safety of marine life, incorporating the Marine Animal Safety Hatch (MASH) and advanced camera systems to monitor and protect ocean inhabitants caught within the system inadvertently. This attention to ecological preservation underscores The Ocean Cleanup's commitment to not only cleanse the oceans of plastic but to do so with minimal impact on marine ecosystems. 

The evolution from System 02 to System 03 reflects a journey of learning and improvement, with each iteration enhancing efficiency, safety, and effectiveness. The broader vision encompasses a fleet of such systems, working in unison to not just mitigate but eradicate the plastic pollution scourging the GPGP. 

In parallel to tackling the open seas, The Ocean Cleanup's strategy extends to preventing plastic pollution at its source. Through the deployment of Interceptor systems in rivers, the project addresses the dual challenge of cleaning up existing marine pollution while stemming the flow of plastic from land to sea. This holistic approach highlights the necessity of addressing both ends of the pollution spectrum. 

The collaboration with Bharat Clean Rivers Foundation marks a significant milestone in The Ocean Cleanup's expansion into the Indian Ocean region, focusing on Mumbai's rivers as a primary source of plastic emissions. This partnership embodies a synergy of research, technology, and local knowledge, aiming to devise scalable solutions to intercept plastic pollution before it reaches the oceans. The initiative in Mumbai is not just a local effort but a model for global application, demonstrating that through collaboration, innovation, and a data-driven approach, the tide against oceanic plastic pollution can indeed be turned. 

As The Ocean Cleanup embarks on this monumental journey with System 03 and its river interception projects, the world watches with bated breath. The success of these initiatives represents more than just the removal of plastic from our oceans; it symbolizes a beacon of hope, a proof of concept that human intervention can indeed restore the health of our planet's most vital ecosystems. With the unwavering support of partners, donors, and the global community, the dream of pristine oceans is closer to reality than ever before. 


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AET 28.2 April/May 2024

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