BoyanSlat1374 karma2021-11-11 16:42:48 UTC
Appreciate your message! I'm not worried about it for a few reasons.
Firstly, the 'moral hazard' argument has been used to oppose innovations for centuries. Safety belts, maskwearing and even fire departments were opposed on the grounds that it would give people an excuse to engage in risky or bad behavior. It never actually has a measurable effect, though.
In fact, we see the exact opposite happen everywhere we work. Communities around the rivers we operate get educated about the issue & even start to help clean the river banks themselves.
What's more, we actively work together with local partners to let the presence of the Interceptor be a catalyst for other (upstream) changes. The UNDP is doing this in the case of the Dominican Republic now, for example, and already introduced waste collection for some of the poor comunities around the rivers.
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BoyanSlat1168 karma2021-11-11 16:27:47 UTC
In the case of the plastic from the GPGP, we feed it into our recycling supply chain - we've developed processes through wihch 95% of the plastic is being recycled! On rivers, we are much more dependent on locally available infrastructure. At the very least, we want to guarantee the material can never end up in the environment again, so we extensively audit the waste management partners we work with.
BoyanSlat1150 karma2021-11-11 16:16:11 UTC
The problem is economics. As long as making new plastic is cheaper or cost-competitive with recycling existing plastic, only a small fraction of the world's plastic will be recycled. Contrast this with aluminium. It's very energy-intensive to turn bauxite ore into usable aluminium, resulting in recycling rates of >90%. So on the long term, either plastic prices must go up, or recycling must become cheaper.
On the short term, we resolve this by adding value to the recycled material by selling it as "The Ocean Cleanup plastic" rather than 'normal' plastic. By monetizing the story attached to the material, we hope to make our recycling ops viable.
BoyanSlat999 karma2021-11-11 16:11:05 UTC
Yeah a fraction of the plastic doesn't float and ends up on the seabed (mostly near river mouths and coastlines). However, the impact this has is ambiguous at best. In fact, a study published earlier this year found 'biodiversity hotspots' around plastic dumps on the seabed: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/347983571_Large_plastic_debris_dumps_new_biodiversity_hot_spots_emerging_on_the_deep-Sea_floor
This, in combination with the inevitable env impact of trawling the seabed makes us say: let's focus on the floating fraction, which is known to be very harmful.
BoyanSlat999 karma2021-11-11 16:44:05 UTC
Exactly. If you're doing everything, you'll be successful in nothing.
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