The Ocean Breathes Hot Garbage Breath

What to write about? War, finance, corporate greed, nutrition, environmental disasters? Let's go with that last one. This isn't about anything new, but I wouldn't be surprised if many of the people (me) who read this have not heard of the Pacific Trash Vortex, a congregation of trash in the middle of the pacific ocean estimated by most to be at least the size of Texas.

I'm not really sure I need to say much more, the idea speaks for itself. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is another giant example of just how much our institutionalized society cares about the environment: very little. Further supporting my cynical slander is the growth of the patch, which likely hasn't slowed since we discovered it in the 80's. It's sad.

So what's being done? What can we do? We as in people reading this can do very little to solve this problem. We might start a social media campaign and get some news attention to the travesty, but that isn't doing any real work other than making some people ad revenue. On the brighter side, it seams scientists and some companies are starting to give the problem some attention meaning that it is likely that a solution will be found soon.

The leading concept was introduced in 2012 by a Dutch engineer by the name, Boyan Slat. His concept Is quite elegant: have static collection stations out in the currents that pool the garbage and slowly collect the trash. I've read very little on his idea, but he claims that it would be financially profitable and depending on investment, could be done in 5 years.

My concept is just to have a ship slowly troll through the trash zone, collecting plastics as it went, thereby creating fuel for itself. My idea relies on a couple of things: the relative efficiency of trash electric generators and whether there is a ship out there whose turbines are powered by said generator. Unfortunately the congregation of trash isn't quite as dense as my imagination has it, so this would likely not be a viable option and something like Slat's idea would be better.

Look for this in the news, it pops up every now and again and definitely deserves more attention. We're only fed the things we like by the major media outlets, so start liking this you bastards. Happy travels.

Comments

  1. I was made aware of this "continent of incontenance" several years ago. While albeit we do not have a solution and yours is a valid idea you need to consider the research and development costs and production costs to build a ship like this. Are you going to build one? ten? 100? Kevin Costner had an idea like this once for oil spills. He created a machine that could separate oil and water to help with the Exxon Valdez disaster along the Alaskan coast. Did we use it? No we created a synthetic compound to break down the crude oil that the government bought MILLIONS of gallons of. It was not a cost effective or environmentally conscious way of dealing with the problem but the company that created the chemical had contracts with the government already and made LOTS AND LOTS of money off of it. So what is the point of this story you ask? Well when the Deep Horizon oil spill occurred in 2010 the government used Kevin Costner's invention because they determined that the gulf eco system was 'too fragile' to use Corexit to clean up. So they made it sound like they were only going to use his 'oil trolling machine' to clean up. Did they use Corexit? Yes. The reason they didn't tell people they were going to use this is it would affect tourism to the tropics and gulf coast. It takes the combination of government, research, environmental consciousness, and long term execution to solve these problems in a manner that doesn't destroy the environment. Don't be surprised if you see a 'miracle' solution to this problem before you see one that takes into account all of the environmental factors.

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