Classifieds | Place a class ad | PDF Edition | Home Delivery
A remote island in the Pacific Ocean would be a heavenly place to live or vacation.
Not so fast. This is an island of garbage, about the size of Texas. Texas is 268,597 square miles; Alaska, by comparison, is 663,300, meaning the garbage island is more than a third of the size of Alaska.
A 24-year-old Dutch inventor, Boyan Slat of The Ocean Cleanup, is spearheading a multi-million-dollar project to clear the floating island of trash, known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, that stretches between California and Hawaii. Tests begin Sept. 8.
Slat has devised a contraption that will float on the water. It will have a screen attached below that will collect garbage. The garbage will be directed to a central location, where it will be scooped out of the water and returned to land where it will be recycled.
Marine life is expected to flow under the screen, avoiding being caught up in the collection.
It would be quite an accomplishment for Ocean Cleanup to make a significant impact on the garbage patch. The group is making huge claims, suggesting it can remove about 90 percent of the ocean’s plastic.
Whether it can, remains to be seen. But, first, the effort is appreciated. Beside picking up marine garbage, it is having the effect of drawing the disgusting situation to the public’s attention. When the amount of garbage is considered, it prompts consideration of how to prevent it from becoming larger.
At this point, it seems reasonable to at least test Ocean Cleanup’s device. If it works, great; if it doesn’t, at the very least it has drawn attention to the situation, which is a start in finding a way to correct it.