Cleaning Up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch--Aerial Survey

In the August 24 blog we learned about the Ocean Cleanup crew and their successful Mega Expedition to the Great Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch.

Actually, there are garbage patches the world over, but the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is an area where a large amount of debris accumulates due to ocean currents. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has an interesting podcast on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

The goal of the expedition was to collect data and map the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, also called the Eastern Garbage Patch.

Now Ocean Cleanup--the world's largest project to rid the oceans of plastic--is preparing for an Aerial Expedition to begin on September 26, 2016. The crew will calibrate their ocean plastic sensors and practice surveying above Googles Moffett Airfield in California.

Through September and October, they'll fly their beautiful C-130 Hercules aircraft low and slow over the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

The project will accurately measure large, harmful debris, like ghost nets--large knots of discarded fishing gear. Human expert spotters and state-of-the-art sensors will collect the information, which will be used in a final report in 2017.

The ultimate goal of The Ocean Cleanup is to use passive floating barriers to remove tons of plastic and debris, to eventually clean up the Garbage Patch.

So far, the project has completed a vertical distribution study (how deep does the debris go), the Mega Expedition, Scale Model Testing, and deployed a prototype in the North Sea. 

In late 2017, the crew will deploy a pilot testing platform.

Anyone interested in cleaning up our oceans should keep an eye on this fascinating, and very cool project!


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