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How To Rid The Sea Of an Ocean Of Plastic

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problem because it cannot be removed and taken to land for disposal. It cannot be incinerated due to the toxicity of the smoke. It cannot be ignored because the plastic is being eaten by fish, birds and mammals. Others become trapped and killed by it. The plastic will destroy the food chain. There are six times as much floating plastic as there are plankton and the plankton-eaters are consuming more and more plastic. A Styrofoam cup breaks down into little white pellets that have the appearance of fish eggs, which are swallowed by other hungry animals.
The research, which is ongoing and was begun by Mr. Charles Moore in 1997, has revealed a deadly nightmare for organic life. Anti-littering campaigns may help in the future but millions of tons of plastic items continue to be manufactured and discarded every year. Plastic does not biodegrade. All plastic that has ever been made, that which has not been toxically incinerated, still exists and will always exist unless it is converted back to that whence it came.
The floating plastic must somehow be cleaned up and there appears to be only one practical means to do so.
All plastic is made from petroleum products and is made up of hydrocarbon. There is a proven process in which any hydrocarbon-based material can be converted back to high-quality light oil by a brief application of heat and pressure. This technology is known as Thermal Conversion Process and has been perfected by a New York company, Changing World Technologies, Inc. (CWT). The company has spent the past few years working with the conversion of slaughterhouse waste products into oil and is currently adding the conversion of plastic waste. We have approached CWT with our basic proposal and the company has indicated an interest in participating with us.
Changing World Technologies, Inc. captured our imagination in 2003 with an article by Discovery Magazine describing their heroic method of converting waste back into oil, which they have been doing since 1997.
We propose, in our pilot project, to put a CWT conversion process on a large ship, preferably with front-opening doors. The ship would, with a wide, V-shaped catcher, plow through the infested water, taking in the plastic waste onto conveyor belts that would feed the waste into the converters for heating and pressurizing. The result is light, high-quality fuel oil, some of which would be used by the ship, the bulk of which would be transferred to tanker ships for transport to the mainland. This fuel oil could be further refined and either sold at market price or distributed unrefined to help families in need of home heating oil, in addition to many other worthy programs.
If the pilot project is successful, it would doubtless become a popular enterprise, worthy of increasing international private investment which would enjoy tax incentives for the greenest project imaginable to us. Meaningful numbers of specially-built conversion ships would be produced and employed in the several waterworld wastelands and eventually in all polluted areas.
The nature of plastic waste indicates that cleaning the oceans and other waterways will be a permanent activity for the health of the planet and the survival of not only the sea life but possibly of humanity. We see this as the only practical, possible solution to what researchers have come to see as a catastrophe impossible to prevent or fix. But, quite possibly, the conversion of floating plastic waste will provide a much needed commodity until such time that plastics are made from biodegradable materials such as starch.
A popular idea now is sustainability. Our proposal is based on this idea, since the ships would sustain their own work by producing fuel oil, obviating the costs of refueling so far from land.
We foresee a hundred or more conversion ships working the waste areas of the world's oceans, around the clock, year after year. Over time, the waste areas would be cleansed. Improving technology would allow even small particles of plastic to be strained out of the water, but initially the grossest areas would be attacked and reduced to fuel oil.
The beaches of many islands are inundated with plastic refuse. We would use smaller boats to gather and trap this trash from shallow areas and remove it to conversion ships in deeper water for processing. This, truly, is the only way to handle plastic pollution in water, and on land as well, for that matter. It is said that a plastic bag or Styrofoam cup dropped on the ground to blow in the wind will generally wind up in the ocean, so the Thermal Conversion Process of CWT, Inc. is the only moral and practical way to deal with any plastic waste, on land or the water. It should not be buried and it must not be burned.
Changing World Technologies, Inc. expects their plastic waste Thermal Conversion Process to be online this year (2010). We would like to install a prototype version on an LST-type ship as soon as the converter is ready and make way for the Great Garbage Area of the Central Pacific to begin the vital cleanup process.
If this project interests you and you would like to become involved with us, please ask for more information.
Ocean Plastic
Santa Barbara County, California
John B. Campbell
Robbi Skye Campbell