csv data set of plastic production
I would love to see some artist take this up as a project and create an art display with this sort of imagined reality of what things could look like in a modern store with a bit of regulation pushing business to make packaging reusable.
Is anything being done to address the fishing gear issue?
Sooner or later, countries need to start banning big wild fishing.
Another reason to ban is that it's hard to monitor catching practices. Some catching practices wipe out whole ecosystems in one sweep, including taking endangered fishes, seals, etc. The boats will know they will get in trouble for keeping it and will throw them back in water, but not all of them will be alive.
On a side note: I wish the Australian government will have the balls to stop Japanese military from escorting Japanese whalers in Australian waters: https://www.news.com.au/world/japanese-navy-sent-to-assist-w... Australia gets no royalty from whales hunted within its waters by Japanese government!
Surely there's oil rigs, etc outside of EEZ, does that mean anyone can set it up without approvals?
I am not sure what happens further out than 350 NM but I am sure there is some UN agreement on that too. Not sure if any drilling takes place more than 350 NM.
More importantly, hopefully this data can be used to increase pressure on governments to strengthen regulations against single-use plastic items.
"CPR that has been towed within the North Atlantic and adjacent seas. 36% of the total number of CPR tows between 1957 and 2016 (16,725 tows) had faults logged, 4% of these faults were due to plastic entanglement and 1% were due to natural entanglement "
They only had a total of 208 cases of their devices getting entangled out of those 16,725 tows of which 52 were discarded because they did not involve plastics. Then they did a normalization across each year. I think the large variance is probably due to the small absolute numbers of total incidence and the exaggerated scale that they chose (0-5%).
1 - https://static-content.springer.com/esm/art%3A10.1038%2Fs414...
2 - https://static-content.springer.com/esm/art%3A10.1038%2Fs414...
3 - https://static-content.springer.com/esm/art%3A10.1038%2Fs414...
It's a path visualization from the starting and ending coordinates with classification of the entanglement recorded.
The second data source was just natural entanglements that occurred, not the plastic ones... kicking myself for not starting with the first data source. I'll probably end up doing the same thing for plastics.
Two primary recycling technologies seem promising: Thermal Depolymerization and Molten Salt Oxidation.
I've acquired two boats, one to serve as a base and the other to get to/from it, and I hope to begin collecting trash (in SF bay to start) this summer. :-) Fingers crossed...
Is this even a good approach? What part of the problem does this tackle? It seems like the main problem is "How do we get the most plastic out of the ocean possible". The "Many Robots" idea seems to identify the least difficult of the problems, which is "What do we do with the material once it is collected". Indeed, I suspect 1,000 super durable metal robots made on land that have sufficient technology would be superior to 10,000 'recycled' bots. Indeed, 1 gargantuan vehicle cruising the ocean and pumping out giant plastic floating cubes would be even more efficient.
Then again, if you've made a robot that can collect micro plastics from the ocean and reproduce itself well enough such that its prodigy can do the same, then you've already won.
The bulk of the robots will be very simple bio-mimetic structures made out of bubbles of plastic attached to each other with glue (in situ production of a suitable marine glue from e.g. algae is one very big open question for the project. Although I can make do with filaments and knots.) Actuators will be mostly simple pneumatic/hydraulic systems. Peristalsis. Power will mostly be passive scavenged from the environment. MSO is an exothermic reaction. Think of giant artificial hydras lining a vast floating spiral "digestive system" that concentrates plastic at the processing center at the, er, center, while rejecting fish and other biota.
> Undoubtedly, there will be an addition of material to the ocean system.
Yeah, the limiting factor will likely be small robust electronics packages. Still, not every drone has to have the full complement of sensors and processors. It's not impossible that a simple "clockwork" brain will suffice for the bulk of the drones.
> Will the all-in cost of adding the additional material offset the all-in cost of the amount of plastic reduction?
I figure so, because I'll be only adding at much matter as needed to make the trash "smart". And the ratio of stuff removed to stuff added should be 10,000-to-1 or better. One ATMega microcontroller can provide brains for several tons of plastic.
> What damage can these devices do when they malfunction? What environmental harm can happen when they break?
Very good questions. So far I'm designing them to be no more of a problem than the trash itself. I expect to be able to have a boat pass through and neither it nor the swarm should even notice each other, FWIW. Also, the robots themselves will be recycled once they have passed the inflection point.
The main issue was how to maintain control, and I think I've got that figured out. I had to design a system that lets me specify my hardware and software from the gates up to be provably correct. Now that I have that the actual OS and robot guidance system is pretty straightforward. It helps that things like ML have come a long way since I started. A lot of problems I anticipated have already been solved in the the meantime.
> Is this even a good approach? What part of the problem does this tackle?
When I first heard about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch I was horrified, but then I looked at it from the POV of Permaculture, wherein you see this sort of thing as a resource, rather than a problem. As a resource, the plastic waste represents a huge trove of carbon atoms, they are just in the wrong place. (They also aren't bio-compatible, but that's a whole 'nother story.) Using TPD or MSO the trash becomes a resource.
> It seems like the main problem is "How do we get the most plastic out of the ocean possible". The "Many Robots" idea seems to identify the least difficult of the problems, which is "What do we do with the material once it is collected".
The swarm is designed for the collection phase.
The recycling into more robots is just to let a small initial system scale to handle a global problem in a reasonable amount of time.
> Indeed, I suspect 1,000 super durable metal robots made on land that have sufficient technology would be superior to 10,000 'recycled' bots. Indeed, 1 gargantuan vehicle cruising the ocean and pumping out giant plastic floating cubes would be even more efficient.
Efficiency is less important that it might seem, because there are plentiful ambient energy differentials on the ocean. The issue is range and detail: you have to reach most of the oceans down to the molecular level to really clean this mess up. I'm not good at enlisting the aid of others so in order to tackle this problem I had to design a system that scales with relatively little human inputs. I can't build a "gargantuan vehicle" directly but I can build a small system that can replicate itself (with a little help) and scale that up. Eventually I will have gargantuan vehicles.
> Then again, if you've made a robot that can collect micro plastics from the ocean and reproduce itself well enough such that its prodigy can do the same, then you've already won.
Also yes, engineered bacteria and viruses are dangerous stuff, but that's the closest we have to a self-replicating robots today. I don't know what else the OP could have meant, besides making a joke. That said, if we change "self-replicating" to "cheap and mass-produced from recycled material", then the whole thing starts to make more sense.
I tend to get side-tracked a lot but I'm making (slow, very slow) progress.
FYI, the self-replicating robots is kinda the hard part.