4 Innovative Ideas That Contribute to Cleaner Oceans

150 Million Tons of plastic are currently floating in the oceans. According to Greenpeace this number is going to rise by 100% until 2030, and in the year 2050 it is believed to have increased four-fold. This means that by 2050 there could be more plastic in the sea, than fish, if we don’t take action now.

And not only the waste, but also oil spills and other chemicals contribute to the pollution of the oceans and act as a threat to animals.

Luckily, there are people who are already coming up with great inventions that could reduce the amount of waste and oil in the oceans. Here are four innovative ideas that help clean the oceans:

1. Seabin

Invented by two Australians the Seabin is, as the name suggests, a bin that is floating on the sea. There is a pump in the bin that sucks the water, the waste floating in it, and the oil on it, into the bin. The plastic then remains trapped in the bin, and the water is pumped back into the sea. The water gets filtered in the process and is therefore cleaned from the oil. And don’t worry about the fish — a special fixture prevents them from being sucked into the bin.

Photo: Inhabitat.com

2. Plastic Whale

If you’ve ever been to Holland, you may have noticed that a lot of plastic is floating in the canals. Marius Smit has noticed, and decided that he wanted to do something about the issue. So a few years ago, he announced on social media that he wants to build a boat from plastic.

Few people took interest in the idea and wanted to help — that’s how the organisation Plastic Whale arose. But Smit wanted to make a change immediately, so he created a Facebook event that invited people to fish for plastic together. In the first year, 2011, 450 people participated — one year later there were 1200 people fishing for plastic in the canals of Amsterdam.

By now there are 7 boats that are made of the plastic collected. The Boats can be rented by anyone who wants to help clean the canals from plastic. Companies, for example, like to rent the boats and have their employees fish for plastic, as a fun, team strengthening and bonding activity.

Photo: Plasticwhale.org

3. Oleo Sponge

Scientists from Argonne National Laboratory invented the Oleo Sponge, which absorbs oil and other petroleum-based chemicals within seconds.

It works on the surface and underwater, can soak up up to 90 times its own weight, and is reusable. The researchers claim it could clean up oil spills within 5 years. It is a great, environmentally friendly alternative to the techniques that are usually used to remove oil from water.

Photo: Arstechnica.com

4. Fishing For Litter

Waste floating in the sea often gets caught in fisher nets, but instead of collecting and then deposing the litter properly the fishers throw the waste back into the sea where it proceeds to be a threat to animals. They do this, not because they necessarily are bad people, but because deposing the waste is simply too expensive. So the organisation Fishing For Litter is handing out large industrial litter bags to fishers, so they can collect the waste instead of throwing it back into the water. The organisation is also placing containers in many European harbours, where they can dispose the waste for free — and some even get a reward for the plastic they “fished”.

Photo: miljodirektoratet.no

Although it might just seem like a drop in the ocean to you, doing something is almost always better than doing nothing — so start taking action and suggest a boat trip with your friends or co-workers, and support emerging start-ups that are trying to make a difference!