Plastic Ocean Problem
A very troubling recent find in our ocean was a huge ‘soup island’ of trash twice the size of Texas and 30 to 90 feet deep. Just imagine a 3 to 6 story Wal-Mart sprawling from the Mexico border up from California and Arizona, through Nevada, Idaho and the whole west coast (including Oregon and Washington). The overall area of this behemoth is twice that of the Continental United States given its depth. Now imagine that there are TWO of them: the Western Garbage Patch just north of Hawaii, and the Eastern Garbage Patch just east of Japan.
The plastics have been affected with photodegradation, which causes the plastic to break down into smaller pieces (while still remaining a polymer) and are ingested by smaller and smaller animals throughout the food chain. This allows the plastic to penetrate the entire food chain from the bottom up.
What can be done about it? There is a movement by researchers to collect 40 tons of the plastic by two passes of nets and take it back for testing for recycling then create an industry burdened with and exceptionally high cost of transportation. With 3.5 million tons to treat even with the best will in the world, we need to do more, and we need to do it now.
With a relatively straight forward modification of the container ship version of the DragonsClaw, we can do it now. The DragonsClaw would add our new liquid nitrogen device, new earth grinder, plasma gasifier, ATMD, and air scrubber.
The DC would suck up 60 tons per hour 1,440 tons per day; mathematically, ten ships would process all the waste in 250 days and be home for New Year’s holidays.
The bulk floating would be picked up by nets. All the plastic would be belt delivered though a slurry of liquid nitrogen and put through the New Earth Grinder. The instant 500 mesh plastic would be then containerized for easy and profitable recycling* with a portion placed in our gasifier to produce energy to run the ship and peripherals with our scrubber to eliminate all pollution.
*pay the capital and operation costs of a container ship and our equipment, deliver an excellent return, and save millions of barrels of oil.