Oceans in trouble
The world over, our oceans are rapidly acidifying, warming and losing oxygen. These factors are leading to sea-level rise, loss of biodiversity and changing weather patterns. The United Nation’s most recent report on the effects of climate change on our oceans is devastating. There’s been a lot of media attention given lately to tech solutions meant to bring salvation – including some that have proved to be in need of a little more work. But there are more possible cures for ocean woes out there; some of them, we hope, will show substance behind the hype.
Will this floating garbage collector, invented by Australian surfers, succeed where Boyan Slat’s Ocean Cleanup Project initially failed? Some 860 of the Seabincans are installed at marinas around the world – unlike Boyat’s invention, the Wilson pipe, collecting debris before it hits the open ocean – and they’re apparently on track to capture almost one million kilograms of disposable cups and plastic bags, bottles and utensils. Using a submersible water pump to pull in water (and garbage), the device seems to be living up to its promise, perhaps even more so now that its inventors have come up with a filter that catches 2mm-sized microplastics, reports CNET.
In April, a team of engineering students at University of California, San Diego launched FRED into California’s Mission Bay. A “floating robot” catamaran designed to “eliminate debris” (hence the vessel’s name), this was just a test float for FRED, which uses conveyor belts to pull in bobbing garbage with an aim to help clean up the utter ecological plastics disaster that is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, according to the Washington Post. If all goes according to plan, FRED’s inventors hope to fix its bugs and test its clean-up abilities in the San Diego Bay and Tijuana River.