Could Ocean Cleanup’s New Interceptor Help Solve Our Plastic Problem?

Could Ocean Cleanup’s New Interceptor Help Solve Our Plastic Problem?


It’s no secret. We have got a trash
problem. Every year, we produce about 300 million metric tons of plastic globally. These plastics
can end up in rivers, oceans, and eventually our food chain. But a group called The Ocean
Cleanup says that their new suite of technologies can help address this growing problem.
When a piece of plastic finds its way into the ocean, exposure to sunlight and the elements
work to break it down into smaller and smaller fragments. Marine animals often mistake plastic
trash for food, which can lead to malnutrition and a potential build-up of toxic chemicals
in their bodies. And since humans are a part of the food chain, plastics find their way
into us, too. With all this in mind, The Ocean Cleanup team
set about tackling the world’s largest accumulation zone: The Pacific trash vortex, or proverbially
known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, It’s an area in the ocean that’s bounded by
the massive North Pacific Subtropical Gyre and about three times the size of France,
containing more than 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic.
Here’s how The Ocean Cleanup’s system works. A 160 meter floater gives the system
buoyancy, while an attached extended cork line floats above a 3 meter deep netted skirt.
The skirt is long enough to catch plastic, but short enough for marine creatures to swim
beneath. It’s deeper in the center, so that the current’s pressure pushes the system
into a U-shape, funneling plastic into the net. A parachute at the back drags in the
water to control speed, and the whole system is equipped with GPS to monitor its location.
This October, after a year of system testing and several setbacks along the way—including
a snapped floater—the Ocean Cleanup team has announced that its plastic collecting
system is working. Despite this recent success, the team has
faced its fair share of criticism, as some experts believe that the device could pose
harm to marine life, and particularly neuston, which exclusively live
on the ocean surface. But perhaps the biggest criticism launched against The Ocean Cleanup
has been from those who say that building an expensive structure far from shore ignores
the more practical and cost-effective measures that are already in existence, like volunteer
beach cleanups and waterway technologies like Baltimore’s Mr. Trash Wheel, which can stop
plastic before it reaches the ocean. It looks like The Ocean Cleanup team took
these criticisms seriously, because while they were busy iterating the design of their
offshore ocean cleanup system, they were also working on a super-secret side project. At
a press conference last week, they unveiled The Interceptor— a system designed to capture
plastic closer to shore. More specifically, at the mouth of rivers.
To help focus their efforts on the most-polluting rivers first, the Ocean Cleanup team set about
to measure exactly how much plastic is flowing out of our rivers and entering the ocean.
Based on this research, they found that just 1% of the world’s rivers —or 1,000 out
of 100,000—are responsible for roughly 80% of the ocean’s garbage, with small urban
rivers contributing the most to pollution. They made it their goal to tackle all 1,000
of these rivers by 2025. To catch the waste, the Interceptor is anchored
into the riverbed at a strategic location where plastic is concentrated and boats have
enough room to pass. Plastic waste is guided by the floating barrier into the mouth of
the Interceptor, which the river current helps push onto a conveyor belt. As the debris moves
across the belt, it’s separated from the water and delivered to the shuttle, which
distributes the trash into one of six dumpsters. Sensors detect when the dumpsters are full,
at which point a text is automatically sent to local operators saying that, ahem, “it is
time to take out your trash”. The trash is then carted off to waste management for processing.
At peak performance, this solar-powered device can extract more than 100,000 kilograms of
trash per day. The comparative cost between this and other cleanup efforts is not yet
known, though The Ocean Cleanup says the Interceptors are ultimately cheaper than deploying nothing at all. And their Interceptors are already hard at
work, cleaning up waterways in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Malaysia’s Klang River. The group is also
preparing to deploy two more systems in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta and Santo Domingo in the Dominican
Republic, a place you may remember from last year’s viral videos showing giant waves
of plastic garbage after heavy rains. Thailand and LA County are also in talks with the group.
But to see how much plastic The Ocean Cleanup is able to keep from reaching our oceans,
we’ll first need to see how effective the initial Interceptors actually are. To reach
their goal of deploying systems at 1,000 rivers by 2025, it’s estimated that a new Interceptor will need to be deployed every 2 days. The question is, can they really do it? With a little luck, we
may soon see a fleet of these devices tidying up our rivers and oceans for future generations.
If you want to learn more about the Great Pacific Garbage, check out this episode here.
Let us know down in the comments if you liked this video, and don’t forget to subscribe
for more Seeker, thanks for watching.

100 Replies to “Could Ocean Cleanup’s New Interceptor Help Solve Our Plastic Problem?

  1. Hi! Thanks for watching, want more on how people are working to fight plastic pollution? Check out this video on an infinitely recyclable plastic: https://youtu.be/taNVuQh1-JQ

  2. i think we should not bother trying this in the huge oceans, maybe the really dense rubbish spots makes sene, but really we should just make it the death penalty for throwing trash worldwide. and also stop making so much trash, and also cull our population.

  3. We need to figure out a way to convert all that plastic in to something profitable. Turning It into fuel or something, in a manner that's cost effective. If people can see a way to make enough money off of trash, it'll then become a valuable commodity. People will grind up rocks all day long to make concrete, because there's money in it. Give human's a real profit motive and we can do amazing things.

  4. They're being criticised because they're not doing the things that prevent the plastic making into the ocean? So what we should just ignore the trillion bits of plastic that's already there? There's always someone picking faults with something, no matter how hard people are trying to make things better. And as usual the people picking faults are the ones sat on their arses doing nothing.

  5. What are we gonna do after we gather all the trash no one talks about processing it they just say it going be processed people just assume it’s going to be taken care of but like half of everything you think you recycled end up in the ocean and if we take it out of the ocean then it will end up in landfills and that no better I think we should build an island out of it right off the golf coast

  6. Bla, Bla, Bla… the same losers that demand all these changes to our society are the same one screaming that everything we are trying to do to tackle the problem are somehow wrong and somehow destructive in one way or another. All the time not a one of them is providing anything of any use to help solve the problem!

  7. The easiest fix is to stop the animals that live in these shit places from dumping everything into the ocean and rivers.. Heck put the death penalty as a punishment, Seems fitting as they are slowly killing everything on the planet

  8. Seems great! But it shouldn’t be so cheap that these countries will throw everything in the river to collect downstream as part of their waste management system. It has to cost.

    Maybe the UN can install these counters they have to make “green taxing”, countries with much trash have to pay while countries with no trash receives some of the money. The rest goes to UN for cleanup efforts. It has to cost to not take care of the planet.

  9. Now we just need a filter to extract microplastics out of the water. Also we can make the plastic into food delivery containers. Instead of us needing plastic bags all the time. We can have our cloth bags and plastic storage bins based on volume of purchase. When we are done with them they can be traded back at the store for new ones. Food items shall be wrapped in compostable materials or put into reusable containers such as glass, metal, ceramic, or wood. Restaurants will no longer provide plastic utensils or straws and instead provide biodegrable alternatives. Shipping and receiving services can reduce plastic by 60% with strategic wrapping methods. We can do so much more in the future. Hopefully businesses and consumers act fast enough before we kill everything with our neglect.

  10. Shore based solutions still don't tackle the plastic in the ocean and only work if everyone cooperates which is not the case for many nations that frankly don't care. Need all solutions to be on the market and then let the market decide.

  11. this seems awesome seems like a liable scenario situation or this would work good what about the creatures that live in the waterhow many animals not animal creatures that have life are going to die and be trapped in this thing unless not use the excuse over there ain't no animals or anyting for the garbage are once the garbage cleanup or there's very little garbage there arebeavers orders anything goes across the river fish you name it whatever is living in their water living in that area or just happened to pass by and get caught in this thing

  12. We ??? We have a trash problem?

    Are we India , Africa or China? (Responsible for 95+% of plastic in the oceans)

    We (the European Race) are literally the only people who try to stop/fix this mess

  13. Please deploy one of these systems to India too. I think the government will be more than happy to even fund these projects if performed in India.

  14. And then when they have collected the trash, then you never know if it is going t be sent to China or some developing country where all the recycled trash with be piled back into one pile 😛

  15. I think we need to recycle massive and the best way to accomplish this is by creating giant sources of electricity. I would have hope for fusion, but this seems now to be never-never land. Instead, for big energy, we need to push for innovations in wind-at-sea, perovskite solar cells, and storage forms. Yes to recycle everything, yes autobots, yes substitute materials. To recycle we need electricity (zap!).

  16. Just the thought of these autonomous machines sitting in the landscape doing their thing, while in the nighttime tens of thousands of starlink satelites sparkle in the sky and all that in just a few years… now this is epic

  17. You know I and I'm sure there are other comments that are along the same lines but the bottom line is that the problem is so massive and I used to fish in Alaska I mean I've been out in the ocean have actually been out there where a lot of these people criticizing this whole thing having the slightest idea what they're talking about I think using all of the Technologies available are the best choice and as far as harm to 2 marine life doing nothing is going to kill just as many if not more because these animals of fish and marine mammals and whatnot are eating this stuff and then you end up eating it so you don't quit your criticism or get out on the beach and start cleaning the shit up yourself but I'll just sit there in your armchair and start talking about what we should and shouldn't do because your opinion is verily 0.

  18. So the plastic waste it collects will need to be cleaned thoroughly with lots of fresh water and sorted by cheap (underpaid) labor, and then sent off to foreign countries to be "recycled" (a.k.a. dumped back into the ocean). A lot of it will also go into landfills or be incinerated.

    Sounds to me like a way for wealthy investors and some good-intentioned engineers to make money.

    Though I love science and the environment, I'm disappointed with this channel and a few others like it. Rather than just championing science, they need to start taking a more critical approach to "sustainability" discussion and start debunking the greenwash.

  19. We still need to clean the ocean too. We can not just say because we are now stopping it going to our oceans we don't need to clean the mess we have already made.

  20. We go out and clean up OUR beaches every weekend, not hard. Oh, that’s right, in America they to busy and seriously lazy, so another machine to do their jobs is understandable.

  21. Okay: We're such terrible polluters that we need giant pool robots to vacuum our oceans? I'm going to start wearing a chimp mask: My species sucks.

  22. While I would love to commend the designers for building these wonderful Interceptors, I fear this is the classic tale of too little, too late. Maybe if we already had thousands of these devices working 24/7 I'd have some faith in man's ability to reverse the trend of worldwide plastic dumping. But we just don't. Who will fund these multimillion dollar crafts? We're probably talking billions of dollars needed. Perhaps we should target the Coca Cola company first and foremost as they were just named the number one brand in plastics pollution on planet Earth. https://www.forbes.com/sites/trevornace/2019/10/29/coca-cola-named-the-worlds-most-polluting-brand-in-plastic-waste-audit/#29844b7474e0

  23. It’s not really a case of them taking on the criticism and learning from it. Ocean Cleanup has been working on this kind of plastic catching equipment from the very beginning, but they didn’t want to unveil the finished model until they had fully completed it and it was up and running. It’s the same thing for a lot of the new electric car companies now. They actually want to show that they have a finished functioning product rather than a concept that might never get off the ground.

  24. We’ve been sending our recyclables to China and Philippines who then dumps all of it in the ocean. What will we do once these robots gather plastic from the ocean? Send it back to Asia for them to dump it back in the ocean, rinse and repeat?

  25. Thailand needs to deal with its people and their littering problem first. I lived in Thailand for 16 years and witnessed thousands of times, children throwing their plastic cups and trash on the ground with their parents standing right next to them and their parents not saying a word. The Thai people are destroying their country with litter.

  26. As much as some people love it, l think their original idea was completely flawed from the get go, but this river cleaning system shows some real promise.
    The issue with the first device was that the plastic is too dispersed for a device like that to be effective, at least in the rivers the density is enough to work.
    Still lm worried how they will cope with floods, not because of the water but the huge rafts of plant matter that will come down those rivers.

  27. Nice to know humans do something when their gut is threatened. Who needs the world we live on anyway..

  28. I don't think Seeker knows how big the oceans are on this planet. There's a picture of the Earth you can find online that shows how vast just the Pacific Ocean is. When you look at the picture there is no land. The entire planet in that view is blue Pacific Ocean water. No land shows at all. This plastic pooper-scooper isn't going to clean anything measurable.

  29. If this company and the beast team on the tree and the company is on river and ocean clean up the earth is healing up

  30. The irony is that if we didn’t have science, we’d never have figured out how to make all this pollution. Am I right? We need Miracles now and scientists/engineers are the magicians. Vote Blue 🌎 PLEASE

  31. governments and private foundations should just embark on the project . It's not about cost effectiveness, it's about investing in cleaning up "our" mess. If the system works, it's a go.

  32. We don’t have a plastic problem. It’s pure propaganda they started spewing just these coupe years. People with a short attention span believe it.

  33. Sick of hearing is too expensive to clean and save the future. But killing machines we can build them with no care of cost.

  34. How the hell is volunteer pickup better than the Garbage patch cleanup? We got three Frances waiting out there in the water. No amount of volunteers on beach cleanup will fix that.

  35. Very nicely and professionally done. Kudos. Yes, deploying new system every 2 days is aggressive! Requires many sponsors, lots of cash, ample shipbuilding space. Imagine if they had secret/magic element, e.g. Elon (Musk). (;-)

  36. So basically the video doesn't answer the title. "We will have to see". Could've spoken to experts or something? Pretty poor journalism imo.

  37. A 16 year old from the Netherlands founded the ocean clean up meanwhile Greta thunberg is doing nothing but attracting attention

  38. The idea is geniues, but the river "keepers" suck up all the floating biomass aswell

    giving it some time this might have some heavy influence for the rivers ecosystem

    i dont have any insights on that topic; just wondering

  39. What would help!!!!. Is if you bill china,Indonesia,india,Pakistan for hundreds off billions as it mainly all there mess and use that money to clean up the ocean with both devices. With a 1 year trash pick up in the worlds worst rivers in India and Pakistan.

    But o wait, no country has the balls to implement it. Because the nation is full off useless people with no balls or brains to run a country.

    Why waste your time and effort when 3rd world country will never clean up there mess, you will never pick up enough to make a difference in those rivers. As these country's use the rivers as land fills.

  40. Mankind: sorry earth for destroying you, we'll try and clean you up
    Earth: don't worry about it…I have a SPECIAL way of cleaning myself,unfortunately it involves getting rid of all of YOU!!

  41. There are a lot of subjective views on what the best method is to solve the problem. Instead of "could", perhaps these videos should highlight what has been collected, in a given time X, in a given region represented in square miles. Take the objective data and compare to existing data. Otherwise, this is just "emotive" science instead of empirical and application science. There is also the glaring inaccuracy that a gross weight of waste is used instead of the net weight of plastic waste that is collected. In the video it is clear that there is a lot of organic materials collected with the plastic. As for the disturbing amount of waste found after heavy rains and monsoons, that is just sloppy science. Those are extremes that represent outliers that occur under extreme circumstances. Save the world, but don't sacrifice science and accuracy when selling your point. Also, do multiple regions that are not categorized as "third world" regions. Otherwise you are just subjectively choosing one example to make an emotive point. You won't save anything if you go down that path.

  42. i hope we understand that no matter the cost! this is the way to go!!. if we as a specie spend billions digging and extracting oil destroying our planet while at it so dont fcng tell Us its to much to spend a few millions to save our planet…
    hoe this project gets all the support it deserves, wish them all the luck, they Sure deserve it

  43. These Critism are bunch of bullshit. Everytime there's some effort to fix the environment you'll see them mentioning the tiniest issue and makes it a big deal. Electric cars? Oh no energy factories have to produce more! Plant more trees? You're changing the landscape! Cleaning ocean? No you're disturbing the sea wild life..

  44. Thanks to people like this from picking up trash to the engineer's. Taking care of our world. 👏👏👏👍🤙✊😎

  45. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/stemming-the-plastic-tide-10-rivers-contribute-most-of-the-plastic-in-the-oceans/

  46. Earth : peace
    People on Earth who like an asshole that throw garbage anywhere
    Boomers : (puts a pic of flintstones future)

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