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Planet Care Human Effort Materials

55: Plastic fishing tall ship

Problem:

Plastic waste in the ocean is breaking down into irretrievable microplastic.

Solution:

A ship to study how this is happening, picking up the waste and taking it back to port.


In 1979 Mary T. Crowley founded Ocean Voyages, an international yacht chartering business that offers a full range of services, including educational sailing program., sailing vessels, expedition ships, motor yachts and scuba and snorkeling program all over the world.

She also started the Ocean Voyages Institute at the same time, a nonprofit organization with a mission of preserving the maritime arts and sciences, the ocean environment and island culture.

In 2008, Crowley founded Project Kaisei, bringing together a team of innovators, scientists, environmentalists, ocean lovers, sailors, and sports enthusiasts with a common purpose: to study the North Pacific Gyre and the marine debris that has collected in this oceanic region, to determine how to capture the debris and to study the possible retrieval and processing techniques that could potentially be employed to detoxify and recycle these materials into diesel fuel.

Their first research expedition in the summer of 2009, on board a 140ft (43m) sailing brigantine S/V Kaisei, was critical to understanding the logistics that would be needed to launch future clean-up operations and testing existing technologies that had never been utilized under oceanic conditions.

From 2011, sometimes twice a year, Mary Crowley and volunteers from the Ocean Voyages Institute have voyaged out on S/V Kaisei from Hawaii to clean up trash floating in the ocean.

During June 2019, the brigantine’s crane pulled out 40 tons (36 metric tons) of abandoned fishing nets as part of an effort to rid the waters of the nets that entangle whales, turtles and fish and damage coral reefs.

The cargo ship returned to Honolulu, where 2 tons (1.8 tonnes) of plastic trash were separated from the haul of fishing nets and donated to local artists to transform into artwork to educate people about ocean plastic pollution.

The rest of the refuse was turned over to a zero emissions energy plant to incinerate it and turn it into energy,

What you can do: Pick up plastic waste near you, keep our Planet Tidy!

Discover Solution 56: Buildings made with organic materials

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