The Plastic Problem
There is an enormous volume of plastic in the oceans today, and the amount is growing exponentially.
In 2050 it is expected there could be, by weight, more plastic than fish in the ocean. Marine plastic pollution is conservatively estimated to inflict environmental damage equivalent to 13 billion USD per year, due to its negative impact on marine life, tourism, fisheries, and other businesses.
Plastic pollution in our world’s oceans threatens more than 600 marine species. Animals ingest and then accumulate plastics (especially microplastics) all with consequences for the human food chain.
A Revolutionary Idea
In 2012 18-year-old Boyan Slat presented a remarkable idea at TEDxDelft: what if we could rid the oceans of plastic by creating a process by which they essentially clean themselves?
5 years later, the project has made an astonishing amount of progress. The Ocean Cleanup employs passive technology that is designed to work with existing ocean currents to collect plastic debris, starting next year with their first deployment to the North Pacific gyre off the coast of California.
Pole Star Offers Assistance
John Murray, Ambassador for Public Affairs at The Ocean Cleanup, was introduced to Pole Star's Managing Director - Julian Longson - through the International Chamber of Shipping.
Julian says: "Pole Star’s vision is to be the digital eyes and ears of the seas - and to this end we are incredibly pleased to be able to contribute ship traffic analytics to the Ocean Cleanup Project. Let us be clear, plastic pollution in our seas is an environmental crisis of epic proportions that requires global attention, and we must raise the issue and profile of this program in any way possible."
Pole Star contributed detailed ship traffic analytics - with raw satellite-AIS data courtesy of ORBCOMM - enabling The Ocean Cleanup to identify shipping volumes through the North Pacific, and prepare for their first deployment into the affected region. The data has confirmed that shipping volumes are relatively low; and Joost Dubois, the Head of Communications at The Ocean Cleanup, confirms that their systems will be equipped with sufficient "visibility enhancers" to enable identification and avoid collisions.