The ocean is the biggest habitat on Earth for our marine wildlife. It is home to millions of species and an essential part of our existence. However, the ocean has been polluted by trash and garbage, and now there is almost 270,000 tons of garbage floating atop our ocean.
The Eastern Garbage Patch is an area in the Pacific Ocean, in the mid point of Hawaii and California, where trash that finds its way into the ocean gathers. Due to a gyre, which is an area in the ocean where different currents meet, causing the Coriolis Effect, when water rotates, causing a funnel so the trash gathers and spins around the funnel. This garbage patch is so vast, that it is estimated to be the size of Texas.
Unfortunately, there are multiple garbage patches, most of which are at the gyres are. There is also one in the Atlantic ocean, although it is not as sizable as the one in the Pacific Ocean. Most of the contents of the trash is plastic, which is not biodegradable and takes 450 years to decompose. Approximately 80% of trash from the ocean comes from landfills and the other 20% come from ships at sea.
The plastic and other contents of the garbage is very detrimental to the marine ecosystem. Many fish and turtles mistaken plastic pellets for food, they get caught in the plastic, and the contaminants in the garbage cause the sea water to become toxic. This is not only terrible for the animals but also makes its way back to us, because then our food will also be contaminated.
Two surfers from Australia notices this problem, especially even on the shores and coasts of beaches. They invented the Seabin, which is basically a bin that acts as a vacuum to suck in the garbage floating on the surface of the ocean. Although right now it is designed for areas of the ocean that are calm and don’t have lots of strong waves, they are looking to test out another model that is suitable for areas such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
This idea is great a huge step in ocean clean up because it not only cleans up garbage but also oil, which could be very helpful to clean up oil spills and even oil contaminated waters. The Seabins tackle the persistent problem of pollution in our waters, and the creators are looking to start using the plastic they collect and recycling it to parts of the Seabin.