Skimming the Problem of Ocean Pollution
Posted by Mystic Aquarium Youth Conservation Corps | Connecticut, United States
Representing a younger generation of ocean conservationists, we feel that ocean pollution is the most important issue affecting our ocean planet. Pollution and trash is everywhere – literally. From parking lots and roadside to rivers, lakes and the ocean, trash is a global problem. Although individuals can take action to stop land based debris from making it into the sea through clean ups and making more sustainable and responsible choices, we need to act now to remove the trash that pollutes the ocean.
Manmade trash can affect animals in every ocean ecosystem. Many marine organisms can accidentally become entangled in debris while others may ingest trash, often mistaken for food. Toxic chemicals leeching from trash will become more concentrated as it moves up the food chain. Additionally, plastic pollution can lead to the spread of invasive species, with marine plants and animals using this trash as a raft floating across ecosystems. As this is a global problem, we feel modified skimmers that can remove debris from all parts of the ocean is the solution.
Skimmers that are currently being implemented can filter water 24 hours a day, capture floating debris and absorb other harmful chemicals such as surface oil or other contaminants. However, due to currents, wind, power challenges, and the frequent need to remove the collected waste, most skimmers are used in smaller, coastal water systems. We would like to see a large scale skimmer that is self-sufficient (through solar power), can withstand all weather conditions, has diving capability to collect below surface debris, can distinguish between abiotic and biotic organisms, and can be programmed to return to a collection site when the debris bins are full.