Can Technology Stop Ocean Pollution?
Ocean pollution is killing off the planet, reaching such a critical level that the weight of the trash is more than the fish in the oceans. Each year, eight million metric tons of trash find their way into the ocean. This trash, which currently makes more than 17.6 billion pounds, is gathered in five different garbage patches.
This is all that we can see, though. Most oceanic trash sinks into the bottom of the ocean and eventually infiltrates the marine and human food chain. What’s more, the organic waste dumped into the water causes an unusual growth of algae. The algae snuff the life out of the ocean in places called dead zones. Currently, there are 146 dead zones in the oceans of the Earth, the biggest of which is bigger than New Jersey.
There are two types of significant threats to marine life right now: the trash dumped into the ocean and oil pollution. Since 1970, more than six million tons of oil have been spilled into the ocean. Most of this spillage comes from fixed pipes and facilities, and about 15% of it comes from accidental spills from ships.
What can technology do?
It is certainly not easy, but companies take different approaches to clean the ocean and enjoy collecting dirty gold.
Companies that clean the plastic from oceans
The Ocean Cleanup
The Ocean Cleanup is a nonprofit organization that aims to remove 90% of the plastic floating on the oceans by 2040. This company uses cutting-edge technology that rides the waves, just like the plastic does, to reach the garbage patches. After collecting the trash, it comes back to the shore to get recycled.
The Ocean Cleanup’s recycling unit is usually installed near the shore and can separate the plastic autonomously. The Ocean Cleanup also has facilities to intercept rivers and prevent plastic from entering the ocean.
This company is seeking partners to have long-term cooperation with for the next twenty years. Many companies are generously investing in cleaning the ocean, including Microsoft, DSM, SalesForce, and many more. The Ocean Cleanup has managed to raise more than 30 million dollars from various companies to succeed in its mission to clean the oceans up.
Marina Trash Skimmer
Marina Trash Skimmer is another company trying to tackle the trash pandemic that is haunting the Earth’s oceans. This company has designed and made a trademark device called Marina Trash Skimmer (MTS) to collect Marina’s debris and trash.
By strategically placing the MTS unit, you can clean up the trash with a broad range and then empty the trash container as it fills up. The MTS units work 24/7 and are aligned with the ocean currents to collect the trash as effectively as possible. These units are currently installed in Marinas all over the work to manage the unsightly trash collection near the shores.
The Seabin Foundation
The Seabin foundation is another nonprofit that focuses on education, research, and science-based projects to clean the ocean. This foundation has decided to go with a 50% profit, 50% nonprofit business plan since 2015.
The Seabin is a marina cleaning technology perfect for being installed in marinas, yacht clubs, and ports. These Seabins can be installed in places vulnerable to trash and debris gathering after a storm or high waves.
Currently, there are 860 Seabins installed around the world, and they have managed to collect 1,749,904 kilograms of trash so far. Investing in this project with as little as $250 will allow investors to be part of the movement that aims to free the oceans from floating plastic. In 2020, it raised 1.82 million dollars of equity crowdfunding to generate revenue.
Companies that revive the ocean by planting seaweed
Oceanium plants seaweed on ocean beds for several reasons. First and foremost, seaweed helps absorb carbon and nitrogen from the ocean, which prevents it from getting too acidic. And secondly, the seaweed planted in the ocean can be used as food for both humans and livestock. This easy and nutritious food source does not require any pesticide or fertilizer; it also doesn’t cause deforestation.
Oceanium is a private company that was founded in 2018. This company is based in Scotland and is backed by many prominent figures and companies in ocean conservation worldwide. Some of these companies are Katapult Ocean, Innovate UK, Sky Ocean, and Zero Waste Scotland.
Another company that plants underwater is Kelp Blue which is based in Nambia. This company intends to produce a kelp forest on the ocean bed and collect one million tons of CO2 from the oceans by 2029. The kelp harvested from this forest can be used in fertilizer, pharmaceutical, and textile industries.
CI2 is investing 2.4 million dollars in the project as a development fund. This investment is made in terms of providing technical feasibility and confirmation of local and international markets.
Cleaning the oceans of trash, CO2, and oil stains is an international effort. It takes more than one company and one country to tackle this monster of a problem. According to research, it takes over 90 billion dollars to rid the oceans from most of its trach and recycle all that plastic. Also, much research needs to be done on biodegradable material so that the same problem doesn’t arise in the next decade.
Investment in such a venture not only is doing our community duty towards our home planet, but it can also have financial profit for us in the future. Such investment can help create jobs, manufacture environmentally friendly material, and improve the marine life so many people depend on.