Sunday, July 13, 2014

all at sea with Crow

In April of last year I wrote about a young man from Holland by the name of Boyan Slat who had devised a plan to clean the plastic detritus from the gyres of the world's oceans. Crow, who is off enjoying his annual mid-summer circumnavigation, sent me a letter:

My dear susan,

First the bad news is the garbage is still there - in point of fact, there's even more of it now than before. Young Slat’s plan, if you recall, is to deploy several V-shaped floating barriers that would be moored to the seabed and placed in the path of major ocean currents. The planned 30-mile-long arms of the V are designed to catch buoyant flotsam three meters below the surface while allowing my companions of the sea to pass underneath. “Because no nets would be used, a passive cleanup may well be harmless to the marine ecosystem,” he wrote in the feasibility  study. The idea is that over time, the detritus would flow deeper into the V , from which it would then be extracted. The report estimates that the plastic collection rate would total 65 cubic meters per day and that the rubbish would have to be picked up by ship every 45 days. Slat hopes to offset costs by recycling the material for other uses.

He's given me a picture of how one looks. I was delighted when I learned that the results of studies he and his team of researchers have done show that just one unit could remove half the plastic in the Great Pacific Patch. They've had great success with their first deployment and are now more than half-way to their goal of collecting $2 million for the next implementation of the plan.

I'm sure you'll agree to share this wonderful news with our mutual, and esteemed, friends. Now I'm off to visit my pelagic colleagues to let them know that help may yet come. The albatrosses, great auks and small, boobies, frigatebirds, gannets, murres, seagulls, penguins, petrels, and puffins depend upon clean seas. As do people. And fish. And sea mammals..

Warm regards to all,

ps: Please set aside some brandy and fruitcake to be shared on my return.

It's good to know there are people who don't take 'impossible' as an answer. After I read Crow's letter I found a few loonies down the back of the couch and made a small donation to Boyan Slat's website  The Ocean Cleanup. Whatever helps. 


Life As I Know It Now said...

I don't have a lot of clams but this is worth passing on the few extra I can spare for sure :)

Should Fish More said...

Crow as Master Jack Tar, I like it, and again, great colors.
I've read about the removal of ocean trash, a organization I'm a member of has given him a grant a bit ago. It's a great idea, and we'll see if it works.

marja-leena said...

An amazing young man to invent the process, and how great that it will be used to clean up mankind's garbage in the seas. All good luck to it!!

susan said...

That's great, Lib. Wouldn't it be great if the governments followed suit by banning the stuff altogether and bringing back biodegradable cellophane?

susan said...

I'll be sure to let Crow know you admire his style :)

So far it has been working, they just need to get the project ramped up to serious levels. Good to hear you're a member.

susan said...

He is a pretty remarkable guy, isn't he? Besides coming up with this practical solution he's also campaigning against the production of disposable plastic.

Lindsay Byrnes said...

Hi Susan
This is splendidly pictured Crow on a specialist mission!!
This guy’s ability to use social media is amazing, at the very least, drawing public attention to the plastic gruel present swirling around in the world’s oceans, who maybe has a workable collection solution, but as yet it still remains in the experimental crucible of development.
Now for the other 90% of plastic waste on land, so you might ask Crow what could be done about it all. What about mandating plastic manufacturers to take back and recycle their products to eliminate obsolescence, using your own shopping bags, pressing for local councils to install more recycling and keeping waterways, parklands l free of waste.
Best wishes

Rob-bear said...

Crow: as entertaining and thoughtful as ever. Truly a good chap!

I'd thoroughly enjoy some brandy and fruitcake with him when he gets home. I do hope I get an invitation.

Blessings and Bear hugs! Best regards to Crow.

Sean Jeating said...

Certainly the (23?) Germans, each of them getting 300.000 Euro for in 2014 being the most successful in trying to put a ball . . . oh well, forget it! . . . to cut it short: Certainly, each of that young intellectuals will donate a third . . .

susan said...

Hello Lindsay, Crow and I are both delighted to know this picture has pleased you.
Yes, thank heaven for young Boyan's enthusiasm and devotion to this cause. What with chemical waste and nuclear waste and plastic on top of everything the oceans are in serious danger. Of course they're not going to dry up, no more than the world is likely to spin off its axis because of our bad behaviour, but it's likely true we're ruining a biosphere that's the only one that will support us and all our co-creatures. His plan is a good one, but more than the plan itself is his admirable sense of responsibility in trying to ameliorate our mistakes.
Insofar as the rest of the plastic waste is concerned we agree that containing it, and eventually mandating against it, can only be done by responsible governments. I wish I were more sure of those than appears to be the case when we read the daily news.
Best wishes

susan said...

Thanks, Rob, and salutations from Crow. You'd be welcome to partake of our brandy and fruitcake whenever you're in the neighborhood. Crow might even show you around his library.

susan said...

So it's true Germany won the Cup? I'm sure there are people who won much more money betting on the games than those young men will ever see. If only Boyan could have a little of those winnings I'm sure he'd be pleased to put it to good use.

linda said...

Yes on biodegradable anything... I get tired of cutting off those stupid wrappers then cutting them into bits, thinking it won't strangle anything but they might eat it if it gets out there. But Sophie loves to crunch on plastic and, not to be indelicate but her poops are strangle made yet she's quite healthy.. However she has very sharp teeth, a huge benefit over the fish and birds!

susan said...

It's true that there's just far too much plastic wrapped around everything these days. Then we have to put it all in another plastic bag to throw away! The stuff should be banned and alternatives made available.

Eeww, plastic poop! Have you tried giving Sophie an old shoe?