Since you asked..

Chances are you have heard of the Ocean Cleanup. The TEDxDelft talk has over 2 million views on Youtube. The campaign crowdfunded over 2 million US Dollars.

Started in 2013 by former TU Delft student Boyan Slat, Ocean Cleanup is a Delft based project aiming to clean a significant amount of the ocean’s plastic pollution. They hope to use a 100 kilometre long, one metre deep angled ocean ‘barrier’ to passively collect plastics, using water movement.

In 2014 Hans Hopman, professor of Ship Design in the TU Delft faculty of Mechanical Maritime and Materials Engineering, did an interview about Ocean Cleanup and he was some-what sceptical. In light of the news that Cleanup will test a 100 metre barrier in the first quarter of 2016 in the North Sea, Delta has returned to ask him whether he thinks the 2020 goal for the largest ocean clean-up in history is likely.

Hopman stated that he was originally sceptical as while it was not yet proven that the floating barrier, the most important part of the design, would work other parts were already investigated and designed in great detail. He said he was pleased to hear testing would begin this year with a short barrier, adding “Well I think they have to scale it up to lengths similar to what they are planning.”

If the barriers survive the testing Hopman believes there is a chance that they may be successful at achieving the aim of collecting plastic pollution from the ocean’s surface. “As Slat also knows, a lot of plastic has already sunk to the bottom and is already causing damage; its only part of the plastic that still floats” he added.

It is possible that, with appropriate and extensive testing, Ocean Cleanup may prove capable of cleaning some plastic pollution. However this is far from a cure-all, something Slat himself has acknowledged. Hopman advocated supporting preventative measures, finding solutions for coastlines, deltas and rivers adding “of course the most important thing is we should find solutions whereby no plastic will be thrown into the water.”

Editor Redactie

Do you have a question or comment about this article?

Comments are closed.