Could Technology Be the Answer to Saving Our Oceans from Plastic Pollution?

Saving the oceans from plastic pollution isn’t just the responsibility of concerned citizens. If we want to stop the rising tide of pollution, it takes companies from all backgrounds to work together. Whether you’re running a small business, sitting at a VP’s desk, or a solo entrepreneur with one employee, the growing plastic in the ocean is your concern, too.

It was estimated that more than 8 million tons of plastic end up in the world’s oceans yearly. That is equal to dumping one garbage truck’s worth of plastic into the sea every minute! Nearly 80% of all waste that exists on earth is plastic, causing irreversible damage to our oceans, seas, and marine life.

Why Are Our Oceans in Trouble?

Plastic Pollution in Oceans

Plastic pollution is everywhere. It’s in our rivers and streams, on our beaches, and in our lakes—and even in remote areas of the ocean where you wouldn’t think it would be found. 

Why are our oceans in trouble because of plastic pollution? Because plastic does not biodegrade or disintegrate in the water! It simply breaks apart into smaller and smaller pieces, which can contaminate ecosystems for decades or longer. 

When animals eat these pieces of plastic, they are often unable to digest them properly. Instead, they can become blocked in their digestive tracts or cause other health issues and death through starvation or infection from internal bleeding if they are swallowed whole by accident while feeding on different prey animals who have consumed plastic particles themselves without knowing what was happening -until too late!

The State of the Oceans: How Bad Is It?

Oceans cover 71% of our planet and play an essential role in regulating our climate, sustaining life on land and sea, and providing us with food. But today, more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic are in the ocean—and that figure is growing daily.

Plastic pollution isn’t just affecting marine life—it’s impacting humans, too. Plastic chemicals are being absorbed by the fish we eat, which then enter our bodies when we eat them. As many as 90% of all seabirds have eaten plastic at some point during their lives!

Related: Why Big Companies Should Invest in Sustainable and Innovative Plastic Alternatives?

The Solution: How Can Technology Help?

Could technology be the answer to saving our oceans from plastic pollution?

It’s a question we’re all asking and deserves an answer. With plastic in our oceans increasing yearly and devastating effects on marine life and ecosystems, we need to find a solution quickly.

Here are three ways that could make all the difference:

  • Tracking plastics in real-time using sensors on boats, drones, and satellites to track where plastic is going and how much is being produced.
  • Developing new ways to turn plastics into fuel or other valuable materials so they can be recycled instead of ending up in our oceans or landfills
  • Using sensors and artificial intelligence to predict where plastic will end up so we can stop it before it goes overboard or before it gets into the ocean in the first place

Related: How Can AI Help Clean up Plastics From Our Oceans and Waterways?

Examples of Technology Helping to Clean up the Oceans

Global warming, overfishing, and ocean acidification are just a few of how humans have been impacting our oceans. Plastic pollution is an urgent problem facing our oceans today.

However, there is hope! Researchers are investigating how technology could assist us in cleaning up our mess. Here are some examples of how technology could aid in preserving our oceans.

The Ocean Cleanup

The Ocean Cleanup Project is an organization that aims to rid our oceans of plastic pollution using significant floating barriers that passively collect garbage as it flows past them. 

Smarter Nets

The invention of the intelligent net could be the answer to saving our oceans from plastic pollution. The smart net is an underwater net that can collect and store plastic waste, which can then be collected and recycled.

Automated Ships

Although ships are still required to trawl for fish, they can now be programmed with software to ensure they don’t accidentally catch anything they shouldn’t be catching. This means fewer fish are caught and thrown back into the water, and more are sold at the market, which means more profit for fishermen worldwide!

Sea Robots

Underwater robots are being developed to work together to find, collect and recycle plastic debris. These robots are sensor-equipped, which allows them to identify different types of plastic and sort them for recycling. The robots can even attach themselves to larger pieces of junk so they can bring it back to their base for further processing.

Robots aren’t the only solution being explored by scientists and engineers around the globe—some companies are creating machines that can turn plastic into oil or energy. But while these projects may seem like they’re just around the corner, they’re still very much in development; it’ll be a few years before these technologies become commercially viable options for dealing with ocean pollution.

Can Technology Help Save Our Oceans from Plastic Pollution? 

Could technology be the answer to saving our oceans from plastic pollution?

The answer is a resounding yes, but not conclusive, as people continue to play a significant role in reducing plastic waste. Many technologies have been developed to reduce waste and pollution in our oceans, proving to be quite effective.

For example, one company has developed a product that uses bacteria to break down plastic. Another company has created a unique material that can be used in place of plastic—and it’s even more durable than traditional plastics!

Conclusion

If we want to fix our problem with plastic pollution, we need to work together. That means businesspeople, scientists, and ordinary citizens work together towards a common goal.

If you’re a businessman and want to help, consider how your company can reduce waste. Or, if you’re a scientist, lend your technical know-how to research efforts to prevent landfills from becoming clogged with trash. And if you’re an ordinary citizen, look for ways that you can recycle and reuse your plastics. Using technology in intelligent ways–like the recycling bin–can save our oceans from plastic pollution.

Browse the I’m Plastic Free directory to discover plastic pollution solutions.

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