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Cleaning up the Oceans

11/05/2021 10:56 PM

It seems the Great Pacific Garbage Patch has met its' match...we've talked about this problem before and also this company and their efforts to gather the plastic waste from our oceans and waterways, this is just an update on that progress...

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Guru

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#1

Re: Cleaning up the Oceans

11/06/2021 7:16 AM

Fantastic efforts! We need many more like this.

Like dipping out the ocean with a dipper,but look at how Zebra Mussels have cleaned up the Great Lakes;they filter only about 1 liter of water per day.

Some invasive species are not all bad.

I know they create other problems,but I think the benefits outweigh the problems.I saw Lake Ontario in the 1970's and there was an oil slick from the beach out to about 1/2 mile.The gulls had a nasty ring around their legs from the water on the beach.

Now locals that were born there report they can see the bottom from the wave breaker,which they could not do before.The water is the cleanest they have ever seen.

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."(Confucius?)

I would gladly pay a plastic tax if ALL of the proceeds went toward this effort.

By ALL, I mean all volunteers,including management.

This is everyone's world,and everyone's problem.

When the oceans die,we die.

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#2

Re: Cleaning up the Oceans

11/06/2021 11:02 AM

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#3

Re: Cleaning up the Oceans

11/06/2021 5:11 PM

I'm betting that it will be a lot more economical capturing it at the source, rivers that are used as magic garbage disposals.

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Cleaning up the Oceans

11/06/2021 5:40 PM

It seems to me that accumulating a great deal of plastic waste is not the problem, it's the recycling /disposal half of the equation that presents the challenges....seems burning it is the most expedient way of dealing with it....

https://phys.org/news/2013-12-plastic-cleanly-natural-gas.html

...but then you have the CO2 problem, so you need to strip the carbon out....

..."Can you convert CO2 to carbon?

Now, a new process can convert gaseous CO2—the product of burning fossil fuels—into solid carbon at room temperature, using only a trickle of electricity. ... In recent years, researchers have discovered a handful of solid metal catalysts—compounds that speed up chemical reactions—that can convert CO2 into solid carbon."...

https://www.science.org/content/article/liquid-metal-catalyst-turns-carbon-dioxide-coal

So then you start over with coal again....very circular

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Cleaning up the Oceans

11/06/2021 10:07 PM

https://www.science.org/content/article/liquid-metal-catalyst-turns-carbon-dioxide-coal

"Liquid metal catalyst can convert carbon dioxide with just a trickle of electricity".

I'm betting more than a trickle. You still have to supply the energy needed to dissociate CO2. Catalyst or no catalyst, there's no free lunch.

My guess is that the highly reactive cesium may be entering into the reaction and require a sizeable amount of energy to be recovered.

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: Cleaning up the Oceans

11/06/2021 10:44 PM

Bottom of the page ...

*Correction, 26 February, 7:20 p.m.: The original version of this story used "cesium" instead of "cerium." This has been corrected throughout the story.

..." The big benefit to this new approach is that the cerium catalyst doesn't gum up. Instead, the carbon forms small black flakes on the liquid metal surface that then slough off and move to the sides and bottom of the tube, allowing the catalytic reaction to continue."...

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-08824-8

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Cleaning up the Oceans

11/06/2021 11:17 PM

slough off = Definition of slough · 1 : the cast-off skin of a snake ·

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#10
In reply to #6

Re: Cleaning up the Oceans

11/07/2021 2:52 PM

This does look promising, but you still have to provide at least 394kJ/mole of electrical power to separate the carbon from the oxygen. In addition, a theoretical minimum of 20 kJ/mole is required to concentrate 400 ppm to 99% pure CO2.

A practical system would not be 100% efficient and would require more.

Natural gas power plants, the cleanest non-carbon-free power, generate about 400 kJ of work for each mole of CO2 emitted, so without a carbon-free power plant, nothing is accomplished.

https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/363318/calculating-binding-energy-of-a-molecule

https://sequestration.mit.edu/pdf/1012253108full.pdf

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: Cleaning up the Oceans

11/07/2021 3:06 PM

Well burning the plastic to supply the power and recovering the carbon would create a revenue stream as pure carbon is a valuable commodity...especially when made into diamonds...

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#12
In reply to #11

Re: Cleaning up the Oceans

11/07/2021 3:44 PM
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#18
In reply to #5

Re: Cleaning up the Oceans

11/09/2021 12:56 AM

I agree with your bet, but it's not a gamble. It's law, natural laws of chemistry, in this case conservation of energy, which support the things and ideas we need to live, especially since agriculture brought us out of the caves.

Even waste has a function, protection against reduced supply. I support and practice its reduction, but it's misdirected against plastics, which are not biotoxic (even their detractors haven't shown this) though some have imagined impossible fish and human digestive systems, though we need to digest (break down, metabolize) anything that goes into us. But popular images don't become popular for nothing, and people need to deny the natural laws and believe impossibles for their sanity in an uncertain and limited life. Plastics make us uncomfortable, as they are human-made synthetics (it's us we don't trust), and remind us of what we physically don't but culturally do need.

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#19
In reply to #18

Re: Cleaning up the Oceans

11/09/2021 2:44 AM

What we can't digest just passes through the system and out...the bacteria in the gut do most of the digesting anyway....plastic just goes in one end and out the other...

https://www.anl.gov/article/exploring-the-role-of-gut-bacteria-in-digestion

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#8

Re: Cleaning up the Oceans

11/07/2021 8:28 AM

Restorative Justice seeks to correct the harm that has been done. The Pacific garbage patch is a visible harm and needs to be cleaned up by good methods, such as the one shown. However, this patch is a very small portion of the total plastic trash released into our waters and lands. I am sure that over geologic time periods the plastics will be incorporated into the environment via existing or new pathways.

All of this is just "kicking the can down the road". We are addicted to thinking that technology or the next generation will solve the problems we have created, instead of confessing our own greed and short-sighted (short-term) ways of acting. We can use the RJ model of cleaning up he patch, but we have not looked at the real cause. Eliminate the problem at its source--ourselves.

--JMM

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#9
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Re: Cleaning up the Oceans

11/07/2021 12:06 PM

The necessities of life are produced and distributed by choosing the cheapest and most efficient methods that are available, kicking the can of problems, and there are always problems, down the road, is the way all societies function....waiting for perfect solutions is never a viable strategy, because there is no such thing... Humankind has flourished, and you can't argue with success...Your misanthropic meandering is not a solution, and is disrespectful to your fellow humans...but I'm sure you've just been brainwashed by the far lefts' constant bombardment of agenda based rhetoric that flows with robust dollar fueled enthusiasm to the truth seeking public....that is not a sustainable path either...

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#13
In reply to #9

Re: Cleaning up the Oceans

11/07/2021 3:55 PM

SE,

I generally agree with your statement: "waiting for perfect solutions is never a viable strategy, because there is no such thing." The cleaning of the Pacific Ocean plastic gyre has been a target for a number of years, and the method we have been discussing is a significant improvement on previous attempts. I trust we would agree that it is not a perfect solution to the specific problem, let alone to the overall problem. They are attacking the problem at its visible endpoint, at the observable symptom. Going beyond this small step, we need to address the cause(s)----one by one. Good problem-solving skills always should search for the cause so it can be fixed, and not just the broken part, blown fuse, etc.

Regarding "The necessities of life are produced and distributed by choosing the cheapest and most efficient methods that are available", I suspect that depends largely on how we measure "cheapest" or "most efficient". Certainly you don't advocate or suggest methods that are at the cost of someone's freedom or life---or do you?

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: Cleaning up the Oceans

11/07/2021 4:11 PM

..."Regarding "The necessities of life are produced and distributed by choosing the cheapest and most efficient methods that are available", I suspect that depends largely on how we measure "cheapest" or "most efficient". Certainly you don't advocate or suggest methods that are at the cost of someone's freedom or life---or do you?"...

In imperfect solutions there are always collateral damages that need to be minimized, and nobody should believe that collateral damage is the goal...This project of clearing plastic from the oceans and waterways is just a first step, nobody thinks it is a complete solution...after all you still have all that plastic to deal with...If manufacturers charged a recycling premium for plastic products and then paid out the money upon return of these plastics after use, it would make a huge improvement I think...like they do with aluminum and other metals....on average 65% of aluminum cans are recycled...

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#16
In reply to #14

Re: Cleaning up the Oceans

11/08/2021 11:13 PM

Regarding "The necessities of life are produced and distributed by choosing the cheapest and most efficient methods that are available", I suspect that depends largely on how we measure "cheapest" or "most efficient".

When calculating the efficiency do we or do we not include the cost of the cleanup? A more complete solution might be to keep plastic waste out of the rivers in the first place. But apparently the "cheapest" or"most efficient" way is calculated without including this cost.

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. In that order. Private industry profits may take a hit, but public costs (or degradation) would be reduced.

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#20
In reply to #14

Re: Cleaning up the Oceans

11/09/2021 3:40 AM

Recycling aluminum cans makes environmental sense because most of the energy is making aluminum from its ore, and recycling saves that. Plastics are not a single element like aluminum, they are not all compatible with one another, and the energy to make them is less. Besides, they are nontoxic/indigestible so why are we worried so much about them? See my comment above (#10) and if you disagree please tell us why? Agreement is welcome,too.

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#22
In reply to #20

Re: Cleaning up the Oceans

11/09/2021 9:44 AM

If you don't see the benefits of a clean environment, then I can't help you...

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#23
In reply to #22

Re: Cleaning up the Oceans

11/09/2021 2:19 PM

Yes I see the benefits of a clean environment, but that's too absolute and polarized for me. I'd like to see comparisons and responsible numbers. I also see costs in time as well as money, and see socially-sanctioned distraction and believing whatever supports a point of view, often to avoid dealing with the bigger issues of consumption, practical feasibility and energy conservation. I am most interested in the origins, appeal and power of that point of view, and why the resistance to science such as the digestion/metabolism noted in my post #10.

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#15

Re: Cleaning up the Oceans

11/07/2021 7:18 PM

Well, I wonder if we can convert Papadoc away from nuclear waste to plastic waste!

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#17

Re: Cleaning up the Oceans

11/08/2021 11:45 PM

https://www.zmescience.com/science/plastic-to-fuel-approach-ocean-cleanup-2678356/

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#25
In reply to #17

Re: Cleaning up the Oceans

11/10/2021 12:51 AM

That's interesting. I had been about to post that very suggestion. Scrap plastic is not the only thing that can be made into oil with this process; any organic material will do. One of the difficulties is excluding sulfur-bearing compounds such as polysulfone plastic; oil with sulfur in it is undesirable.

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#21

Re: Cleaning up the Oceans

11/09/2021 7:22 AM

Wow! Many millions of dollars and years later and....... the solution is discovered - tow a big net behind two vessels. Actually this method has been around from the period before plastic - it is called trawling (pair trawling to be exact).

Ocean plastic is certainly an issue and one which needs to be tackled. It is never going to be a 100% green recovery process.

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#24

Re: Cleaning up the Oceans

11/09/2021 9:15 PM

Maybe all the plastic waste could be melted into giant blocks and used as a building material...

Housing for the homeless....

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#26

Re: Cleaning up the Oceans

11/10/2021 9:04 AM

Most of the ocean is a desert.Most organisms live near the coastlines.The reason is lack of iron in the water in the mid-ocean.Attempts to fertilize the ocean to create a food chain have failed because the iron does not remain on the surface very long..it will soon sink,out of the sunlit zone.Why not try fertilizing the plastic patches in the ocean with iron powder?It would stick to the plastic and create a slow release of iron,and when it sank,it would carry the plastic with it.It may be expensive,but it is the only planet we have to live on.What price the survival of Earth as we know it?

All constructive feedback is always appreciated,no pedants please.

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#27
In reply to #26

Re: Cleaning up the Oceans

11/10/2021 7:34 PM

I don't agree that iron in the water has anything to do with fish in the middle of the ocean...The little fish hide in the reefs for cover and eat the algae and stuff that grows on the corals, the bigger fish chase the smaller fish for something to eat....anybody who has watched the plight of the sardine knows how hard it is to survive in deeper water, even in great numbers....

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#28
In reply to #26

Re: Cleaning up the Oceans

11/11/2021 1:54 AM

We can make plastic with magnetic filler as in refrigerator door seals, but I don't see why iron should stick to any unfilled plastic. Maybe we can make a structure with floating photodegradable plastic (many plastics sink in water). Opencell foam is easy as with synthetic sponges. Going to the"plastic patches" would cost too much time, money and energy, but if the idea works, maybe possible to use home-grown recycle.

I am committed to the Earth's survival too, but attention to nontoxic plastics is a distraction and diversion from the issues of overconsumption and "freedom" to do what one wants any time and anywhere. We haven't yet learned to take pride in our own restraint, even as we consume food and power produced by others.

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#29
In reply to #28

Re: Cleaning up the Oceans

11/11/2021 3:35 AM

"It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness."

Of course it will not be easy.Worthwhile things usually are difficult,especially when going up against a money wall.

Should we just ignore the plastic garbage patches in our oceans?

Some of the plastic develops a slimy algae film,which is soft, and iron could embed into it.

I have seen soccer balls floating around in the ocean with barnacles and algae on them.The balls will not sink,but could become an attraction for a food chain.

There is a lot of floating debris in the oceans.

The plastics that sink are not as big of a problem as those that float.

I agree we should tackle the problem at the source,but we should also address the current problem.

If humankind would disappear from the Earth right now,it would take thousands of years for the oceans to dispose of the micro plastics,by sea creatures poisoned and dying and going to the bottom, to be covered up by more dead creatures.Eventually, all of the plastics would be deposited in the ocean sediment.But will humans be around that long?

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#30
In reply to #29

Re: Cleaning up the Oceans

11/11/2021 10:09 AM

How can we be sure that somebody hasn't fed the plastic bits to captured birds and then left them to be found, I've never seen any birds that died from plastic ingestion anywhere around here...there are crazy people running around trying to create evidence for their own outlandish claims, we see it everyday...don't believe everything you see on the internet...a lot of it is agenda based propaganda...

https://www.goingzerowaste.com/blog/which-is-better-for-the-environment-glass-or-plastic/

https://www.ecowatch.com/glass-bottles-harm-environment-2648968467.html

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#32
In reply to #30

Re: Cleaning up the Oceans

11/11/2021 11:56 AM

I don't believe everything I see,read,or hear.

It is true that the MSM has an agenda to restructure the world,but not everything is propaganda toward that cause.

I know the MSM is trying to engender a feeling of guilt on the human race,using every little blip on the radar as an incoming enemy to reinforce their position.

I have seen the increasing problem of waste disposal on land,and it is a huge problem indeed,but the ocean is even more dire.

Believing it or not has no effect on the reality of the situation.

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#34
In reply to #29

Re: Cleaning up the Oceans

11/11/2021 1:39 PM

You asked Should we just ignore the plastic garbage patches in our oceans?

My answer is a yes-but. The "but" is that we should not use plastics and the biologically indefensible image of toxic digestion to distract us and thus avoid facing the bigger issues of overconsumption and angelizing the "freedom" to do what one wants any time, anywhere. We haven't yet learned to take pride in our own restraint, as needed for the social responsibility that brought us out of the caves, even as we consume food and clean water and power produced by others.

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#31

Re: Cleaning up the Oceans

11/11/2021 11:48 AM

How about seeding the garbage patch with Sargasso seaweed?

It would capture and bind the plastic into a single large mass over time by entangling with the massive seaweed,where it could form a non-toxic floating island,with dead seaweed sinking to the bottom.As long as it stayed put by the gyre and not in shallow water where it could harm coral and contaminate beaches.

It could result in another food chain to increase species in the ocean.

Plenty of sea life in the Sargasso sea,even though it sometimes causes problems when it is blown onto land,but this is a rare occurrence,but becoming more frequent recently.

The Sargasso sea feeds plenty of fish,turtles and other species that either pass through or live out their entire lives there.

The Sargasso Sea is nature's version of the garbage patch,but it is not harmful to sea life under normal circumstances.It is also trapped by ocean gyres.

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#33
In reply to #31

Re: Cleaning up the Oceans

11/11/2021 1:38 PM

No need to seed seaweed, it grows everywhere in the ocean....When I lived on the west coast of Washington on the beach, we occasionally got storms that would break loose parts of gyre debris and most of it was seaweed....most of the plastic was floats from fisherman's nets, and the occasional log from just about anywhere...but usually from nearby logging operations..the rare piece of exquisite driftwood, and glass floats that I and many others collected....

Indeed an epic find!

https://www.chinookobserver.com/news/local/float-find-of-a-lifetime/article_eb880bef-456e-5ade-920a-5c9a871658cb.html

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