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Can These Inventions Save Oceans From Our Plastic Habit?

Posted: 01.25.2017 no comments


Read the full article online at http://www.takepart.com


skimmer-sidebyside-inline2c“NEWPORT BEACH, California—As a lifelong surfer, Louis Pazos has had an up-close look at the world’s plastics problem. Just about every time he has paddled out at any of his favorite breaks in Southern California, he has ended up swimming among trash bags and other rubbish. But the floating garbage isn’t just offshore. Twenty years ago, on a lunch date at a waterfront restaurant with his wife, he noticed that the same debris he was swimming with in the open ocean was floating in the local harbors as well. “I remember people cleaning up the trash in one spot in the marina, and within five minutes, the wind had blown more trash to the spot they had just cleaned,” Pazos said. “I thought, there’s got to be a better way.” Inspiration struck where so many Southern Californians spend too much time—the freeway. “I was stuck in L.A. traffic one day and literally started drawing plans for my trash skimmer in the car,” he said.


Over the next decade, Pazos worked on perfecting what he calls the Marina Trash Skimmer—a floating container that’s fastened to the side of a dock and looks like a Dumpster semi-submerged in water. It’s equipped with a pump that circulates water through its filter system, gently sucking in and trapping debris inside. The contraption has been a godsend to Newport Harbor, an inlet home to more than 9,000 sailboats, yachts, and fishing vessels in Southern California’s tony Newport Beach community. Here, floating trash isn’t usually the first thing you’ll notice, but turn your eyes from the waterfront homes (Nicolas Cage sold his for $35 million in 2007) and pleasure craft (John Wayne’s Wild Goose still floats dockside), and the problem plaguing the world’s oceans becomes evident. Bits of floating debris, plastic trash bags, straws, Styrofoam cups, and more are scattered around the harbor. “It’s trash that we previously just ignored,” Pazos said. “But instead of sinking to the bottom of the ocean or floating far out to sea, we’re able to get it out of the water and stop the environmental damage.” Since his first test runs in Long Beach Harbor in 2006, Pazos has installed 49 Marina Trash Skimmers in states including Hawaii, California (six in Newport Beach alone), Oregon, and Texas. So far, the contraptions have removed more than 1 million pounds—or 500 tons—of primarily plastic-based debris.”


Read the full article online at http://www.takepart.com