Ocean Plastic Pollution and the Air we breathe.
Half of the earth’s oxygen comes from the sea. Most of this is due to microscopic photosynthesizing plankton that live on the surface of the ocean and, in a process very similar to trees, produce oxygen when exposed to light.
It’s been calculated that 269,000 tons of plastic waste floats on the ocean surface. Right now, this is being made worse by “COVID-19 trash” - masks and gloves that have been disposed of and end up in the sea.
The gloves and masks that we are throwing away thoughtlessly usually end up floating on the ocean’s surface. This plastic layer on top of the oxygen-producing plankton smothers them and decreases the amount of oxygen that comes from them.
Without knowing it, today, we are facing a major human crisis as our air is endangered and soon our seas’ surface plankton won’t be able to produce oxygen anymore because of the constant increase of plastic pollution into the ocean. The global oxygen content in air is endangered as a result.
But there are available solutions to solve the problem...
Today, there are a few approaches and technologies which make the solution easy. Furthermore, they can, not only clean the ocean saving us from losing the oxygen in the air. But, they can solve the poverty and climate change challenges. These are the Top 3 solutions for saving the humanity:
1. Circular Economy
Circular Economy Principles focuses on sustainable use of the raw materials, recyclable designs of the products and operations which don't discard resources as a waste. The approach aims to understand and define the unique position of the participants in the industrial chains which can help to connect them in a global ecosystemic metabolism. It copies the organization of the natural ecosystems where the resources circulate and the diversity plays a crucial role for achieving their smooth transformation.
Circular Economy can resolve the plastic pollution at its origin by minimizing the waste generation.
2. Social Plastic
Ideally, we have solved the problem in its origins applying the Circular Economy. There is no more any generation of plastic pollution. But, the problem persists as there is more than 8 billion tonnes of plastic already spread everywhere. We need to clean it if we are looking for a real solution.
PlasticBank promotes the Social Plastic. It is a social-powered approach for the gathering of already spread everywhere plastic waste. Businesses which use plastic in their products have a direct impact on improving the quality of life in areas of poverty and also on the amount of plastic that ends up in the sea through this novel system.
PlasticBank has also made it easy to trace the impact that you have by using blockchain. Trough their app, they promote social benefits to everyone interested to help cleaning the plastic. For example, families in Philippines can convert their Social Plastic Credits to pay the scholarship of their children. Unbankable gatherers can own for first time a saving bank account through the PlasticBank app and build up a minimum economic stability.
Ideally, we are not generating anymore plastic waste because we live by the Circular Economy principales. We have collected together all the plastic spread around the world. But, only 15% of this volume is recyclable at the moment. Then, we still will have a total new continent where we have gathered the 7 billion tonnes of plastic which is not transformed.
Recycls is providing a waste recycling plant which converts waste to fuel, biogas and solid fraction. The plant can work with mix waste. For our specific case, this means it can recycle the dirty plastic without any requirements for cleaning and selection of the plastic waste.
The Recycls process incorporates filtering of the out-coming liquids. Then, the obtained fuel is not only green because is produced from waste but it also has low-content sulphurs. It is very suitable product for marine transportation which additionally closes the loop around collecting the plastic in the ocean by powering the boats.
Biogas can be use for heating and vehicles as a green energy resource. The solid fraction can be use for roads and buildings. Then, we can apply all the products from the transformation process as new resources back in the industrial value chains. The result will be not only cleaning the plastic pollution in the ocean saving the plankton and the oxygen content in our air but we will additionally clean space on the Earth.
Zero Waste Smart Infrastructure
At CREA IDEA LAB, we are promoting an integrated solution as a Zero Waste Smart Infrastructure. We integrate all the three solutions explained above to solve the problem at a global scale. Our design consists of a digital platform which facilitates the implementation of the Circular Economy culture, a direct recycling to new products with 3D printing and Recycls plants.
Furthermore, as an Integrated Smart Infrastructure, it contents a few citizen engagement models which provide business opportunities for the stakeholders transforming the local economy to green and nature-care one.