Right now, 85% of litter in the ocean is made of plastic. To add to that, according to the United Nations, marine plastic pollution is set to double by the year 2030. They estimate that per meter of coastline will be covered in 50kg of plastic.
Solgaard, along with the following organizations, is trying to change the fate of our oceans and marine life. We partner with 4 groups in Asia to employ locals to help pull plastic from entering the ocean and recycle them into innovative products.
The Ocean Cleanup
At the age of 18, Boyan Slat from the Netherlands founded "The Ocean Cleanup". The non-profit foundation focuses on using technology to free the world of ocean plastic. It all began while Boyan was scuba diving and noticed a large amount of plastic bags in the water. Out of curiosity, he researched further and learned about plastic piling up around the 5 ocean gyres. The Ocean Cleanup uses an artificial U-shaped coastline to target the Great Pacific Garbage patch which captures and extracts the plastic. Then, the plastic is recycled into sunglasses. If they can deploy their cleanup systems into every gyre, the Ocean Cleanup predicts they can remove 90% of plastic in about 20 years.
Since 2017, the Florida-based company 4Ocean has removed more than 19,000,000 pounds of plastic from the ocean. Alex Schulze and Andrew Cooper first witnessed the plastic waste atrocities in Bali. After spending some time with people in nearby communities that are directly affected by the pollution, they set out to create a company that could hire some of these individuals, to clean up the water and coastlines. Then, the plastic debris that is retrieved would be transformed into useful products and keep the public informed about the plastic crisis. 4Ocean now has operations in South Florida, Bali, Java, Port-au-Prince, Puerto Barrios, and Hawaii.
The Ocean Conservancy
Linda Maraniss and Kathy O'Hara have been dedicated to the Ocean Conservancy and protecting the oceans since the 80s. For over 30 years, the company has been working with millions of volunteers around the world to clean up the coastlines through the International Coastal Cleanup events. Since the event first began in Texas, volunteers have removed over 340 million pounds of garbage. They then record information in a database to improve ocean waste removal. The Ocean Conservancy is focused on producing science-based solutions to protect the oceans and the surrounding wildlife.
In 2019, Ecuadorian and British researchers joined forces to implement Ichthion plastic removal technology. The company's mission is to allow marine life to thrive for future generations by saving ocean ecosystems from plastic pollution now. To help achieve their goals, Ichtion developed 3 technology systems that can operate in different environmental conditions. These systems both prevent macro and microplastics from affecting phytoplankton growth areas and they collect plastic debris. Once the plastic has been gathered, the systems also provide data on the type of plastic that's been removed. That way, governments can stay informed on the nature of plastic pollution in specific areas and establish policies accordingly. Co-founders, Dr. Inty Gronnenberg and Robert Rouse are currently diverting plastic waste away from the Galapagos Islands.
Although Switzerland is surrounded by land, #tide is committed to bettering the global plastic pollution crisis. In Ranong, Thailand, the company coordinates with other social enterprises to recover ocean-bound plastic. In fact, local fishermen are trained to help identify and sort different types of plastic in the surrounding areas. #tide maintains ethical standards, pays adequate wages, and hosts beach clean-ups. Through Swiss technology, a variety of plastic debris is converted into granular material, yarn, and filament. The granular material is mainly used for plastic injection to make car parts, electronics, accessories (including our Shoreline Watch!), and furniture. The yarn is used to manufacture clothing, interior materials, and textiles while the filament is used in 3d printing.
We hope that we have raised your awareness about the world plastic pollution problem and inspired you to volunteer your time to join our efforts!