Synthetic Sea Solutions
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Synthetic Sea Solutions
Captures innovative solutions to getting plastic out of the sea through sustainable technologies.
Curated by Chris Vamfun
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Guest post: The invisible consequences of mistaking plastic for dinner | Deep Sea News

Guest post: The invisible consequences of mistaking plastic for dinner | Deep Sea News | Synthetic Sea Solutions | Scoop.it
The long and windy path to a Ph.D. is lined with blood, sweat and tears. Like a roller coaster, it can be filled with joy, anxiety, fear and even nausea.

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PLOS ONE: Scales of Spatial Heterogeneity of Plastic Marine Debris in the Northeast Pacific Ocean

PLOS ONE: Scales of Spatial Heterogeneity of Plastic Marine Debris in the Northeast Pacific Ocean | Synthetic Sea Solutions | Scoop.it
PLOS ONE: an inclusive, peer-reviewed, open-access resource from the PUBLIC LIBRARY OF SCIENCE. Reports of well-performed scientific studies from all disciplines freely available to the whole world.

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Microplastics and the Threat to Our Seafood

Microplastics and the Threat to Our Seafood | Synthetic Sea Solutions | Scoop.it
Old plastic never dies, it just fades away…into tiny pieces called "microplastics."  Microplastics are fragments of plastic that measure less than 5 mm (as defined by NOAA).  The abundance of microplastics in the oceans has grown steadily over the last few decades, as plastic use continues to rise.  While a major portion of microplastics comes from the degradation of plastic products into smaller fragments, I have focused on the small resin pellet that is the industrial feedstock of plastic products.  Since the pellets are durable and accumulate persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in the environment, they are a good vehicle to track these pollutants and how they enter the food web..
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Aug 29 – Plastic Pollution Impacting Marine Wildlife, Economy | Californians Against Waste

Aug 29 – Plastic Pollution Impacting Marine Wildlife, Economy | Californians Against Waste | Synthetic Sea Solutions | Scoop.it
Chris Vamfun's insight:

A good post from my friends at CAW.  The turtles are getting a lot of press lately due to the ingestion of marine plastic.   Perhaps there is a way to make the plastic more undesirable to turtles by changing the color or other physical properties.

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Can a floating robot save a polluted canal?

Can a floating robot save a polluted canal? | Synthetic Sea Solutions | Scoop.it
The Brooklyn Atlantis project has created an aquatic robotic vehicle that collects environmental data on the Gowanus Canal

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Chris Vamfun's insight:

Perfect use for robotics!  Their website needs some improvements to make the tagging experience more meaningful with respect to sensor levels measured.   I am thinking that this design is simple enough to modify for some of my other projects like an offboad r/c craft that can carry  a camera to extend  ORV Algalita's sensor range or possibly use this as a model for a TODLER prototype (http://vamfun.wordpress.com/2013/05/22/proposed-towed-ocean-debris-location-and-evaluation-robot-todler/). 

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Ralph Schneider's comment, May 27, 2013 9:22 AM
cool thing :)
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Out To Sea? The Plastic Garbgabe Project

Plastic - a material for eternity? Inexpensive, simple to produce and able to adopt almost any desired characteristics, since the start of the 20th century t...

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Chris Vamfun's insight:

This is one of the better introductions I have seen to the topic.   It makes the point very visible.   Congrats to the project.  We should have these museums all over the world.

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Ralph Schneider's comment, April 22, 2013 9:21 AM
I saw it in Hamburg. It is very well compiled.
Chris Vamfun's comment, April 25, 2013 7:36 PM
Cool...someday when I get to Germany again I"d like to see it too.
Ralph Schneider's comment, April 26, 2013 1:36 AM
it is a moving exhibition and i heard it will be in uk next.
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Waste Not California! CAW's Plan for Protecting Our Environment, Expanding Recycling and Creating Green Jobs | Californians Against Waste

Waste Not California! CAW's Plan for Protecting Our Environment, Expanding Recycling and Creating Green Jobs | Californians Against Waste | Synthetic Sea Solutions | Scoop.it
Chris Vamfun's insight:

Although not up to Europe's recyling program, California is leading the way in the US.  I support this organization which lobbies the California Legilature to make laws to regulate waste in California.

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Radar used to monitor currents in the bay

Radar used to monitor currents in the bay | Synthetic Sea Solutions | Scoop.it

A group working to clean plastic from the oceans is testing an app in the San Francisco Bay, that will help them find floating debris.

 

The Clean Oceans Project is planning to use this to direct their plastic scimming boat to the heavy debris areas of the bay.   Hopefully this techonolgy can be extended offshore. 

 

Here is the IPhone/IPad App  http://www.oeatech.com/2012/04/iphone-ipad-app-for-codar-current-data/

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The Plastic Ocean Project: Solutions

The Plastic Ocean Project: Solutions | Synthetic Sea Solutions | Scoop.it

One of many blogs that are focused on the plastic ocean problem.

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Plastic Pollution in the Ocean | Part 3 | Online NewsHour | November 13, 2008 | PBS

Plastic Pollution in the Ocean | Part 3 | Online NewsHour | November 13, 2008 | PBS | Synthetic Sea Solutions | Scoop.it

Forum from the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer: Plastic Pollution in the Ocean: Researchers are finding that ocean currents carry plastic pollution -- cigarette lighters, plastic bags and other trash -- from the world's coastlines to the middle of its...

 

 Holly Bamford, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Marine Debris Program, and Charles Moore, head of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, answer your questions about plastic pollution..

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Plastics Keep Coming after You: a Comprehensive Report and a Call to Action

Plastics Keep Coming after You: a Comprehensive Report and a Call to Action | Synthetic Sea Solutions | Scoop.it

A nother culturechange.org article by Jan Lundberg

A nice summary of some of the toxins found in our plastics.

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Plastics Plague

Plastics Plague | Synthetic Sea Solutions | Scoop.it

Bioplastics are simply plastics derived from renewable biomass sources, like plants and microorganisms, whereas conventional plastics are synthesized from non-renewable fossil fuels, either oil or natural gas.

 

Culture Change has a  group of reporters that are informed on the plastic situation in the ocean.  I will occassionally highlite some of their articles.   This one has a list of their articles to date.

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How do you figure out how much plastic is in the ocean? | Deep Sea News

How do you figure out how much plastic is in the ocean? | Deep Sea News | Synthetic Sea Solutions | Scoop.it
Nobody ever told me that becoming a marine biologist would involve spending four years figuring out how to count. Because, seriously, how hard can counting be?

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New Wave Wi-Fi: Wireless Underwater Internet in the Works

Chris Vamfun's insight:

This has made a lot of scoop.it topics on the ocean.   Its a start but due to bandwidth limitations at the very low sonic frequencies means that only low data rates will be available.   This might be usefull for connecting a network of yet to be deployed ocean plastic monitoring buoys in addition to what the article speaks about e.g. tsunami monitoring.

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Plastics, Industry, Nonprofits and Thoughts on Solutions from A UNEP Land Ocean Connections Conference - 5 Gyres - Understanding Plastic Pollution Through Exploration, Education, and Action

Plastics, Industry, Nonprofits and Thoughts on Solutions from A UNEP Land Ocean Connections Conference - 5 Gyres - Understanding Plastic Pollution Through Exploration, Education, and Action | Synthetic Sea Solutions | Scoop.it
  Last week I had the pleasure (and pain) of representing The 5 Gyres Institute at the second UNEP Global Land Ocean Connections conference in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

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Chris Vamfun's insight:

I am rescooping this because it addresses so many issues of plastic pollution.   

One point that is interesting relates to the usefullness of recycling plastic that has been in the ocean for a while.  I quote

"Mike ( Biddle), a PhD chemical engineer said straight up that plastic obtained from the marine environment (stuff harvested from the ocean, for instance) is mostly way too polluted with persistent organic pollutants and is way too photo-degraded to be useful, or valuable.  And for Mike, it makes no sense to go into the ocean to get this stuff instead of building the infrastructure that gets it to his plant before it gets to the ocean.  So much for economically viable gyre cleanup schemes."

 

It seems that this might make a case for plastic-to-fuel reuse instead.  The question remains .... is the photo-degraded plastic useful for that?

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The Fallacy of Cleaning the Gyres of Plastic With a Floating "Ocean Cleanup Array"

The Fallacy of Cleaning the Gyres of Plastic With a Floating "Ocean Cleanup Array" | Synthetic Sea Solutions | Scoop.it
The barriers to cleaning up ocean plastic pollution are so massive that the vast majority of the scientific and advocacy community believe it’s a fool’s errand. The solution starts on land.
Chris Vamfun's insight:

Ok, I gave Boyan a plug earlier.... here is a thoughtful rebuttle by  5gyres Stiv Wilson.  

 

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Ralph Schneider's comment, September 19, 2013 3:40 AM
Vision has sometimes nothing to do with wisdom. And innovation has sometimes nothing to do a pre-dominance of science. In this case we see function follows HOPE in public. It is very fascinating to see how public is thirsty for hope and start to follow a hype without questioning environmental, technical and economical robustness (Stiv in concerned about the lifeforms (right he is), I am concerned about the economical factor, where should the profit come from once again?). I just can hope that enough creative people are backing this idea up to make out of a wrong equation a true equation at the end. LUCK is hopefully with us. Even if this means at the end that everyone who tried it the normal science way will look like a dilettante at the end. And I am afraid that at the end the wrong people get blamed if this goes terribly wrong.
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L.A. City Council OKs ban on plastic grocery and carryout bags

L.A. City Council OKs ban on plastic grocery and carryout bags | Synthetic Sea Solutions | Scoop.it
Los Angeles on Tuesday became the largest city in the nation to move toward a ban on plastic grocery bags, with the City Council barring them in supermarkets, convenience stores and any big retailer that sells groceries.
Chris Vamfun's insight:

Go LA!!    California just missed voting for a similar ban statewide but this should go a long way toward getting that passed.   Californians Against Waste (CAW) is one of the better organizations the gets things done in the Legislature and according to them:

 

"Another dozen jurisdictions are expected to adopt ordinances phasing out single-use plastic later this year, including the Cities of Sacramento and Chico, and the Counties of Santa Barbara, Ventura, Sonoma, and Monterey.

The use of single-use plastic bags peaked in 2005, when an estimated 21 billion plastic bags were distributed in California. Today that number has been reduced by better than one-third—to less than 14 billion. In 2014, the number of plastic grocery bags is expected to fall below 10 billion for the first time since the 1980’s."

 

Keep the pressure on folks.

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2012 Algalita/5 Gyres Expedition Trawl Images & Locations - Leg 2 | Facebook

Facebook is a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them.
Chris Vamfun's insight:

This seems to be showing that the plastic is becoming more uniform throughout the Pacific rather than a big garbage patch.   It is on just a single path and make me want to see more data.   I continue to support Algilata's foundation.  I hope you will too dear reader.

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EUROPA - PRESS RELEASES - Press Release - Environment: EU aiming to be at the forefront of efforts to reduce marine litter

EUROPA - PRESS RELEASES - Press Release - Environment: EU aiming to be at the forefront of efforts to reduce marine litter | Synthetic Sea Solutions | Scoop.it
European Commission - Press Release - European Commission Press release Brussels, 16 November 2012 Marine litter is a serious threat to the coastal and marine environment around the globe.
Chris Vamfun's insight:

Go Europe... thanks to Ralph S.

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Plastic Pollution in Great Lakes Most Concentrated in the World « EcoWatch: Uniting the Voice of the Grassroots Environmental Movement

Plastic Pollution in Great Lakes Most Concentrated in the World « EcoWatch: Uniting the Voice of the Grassroots Environmental Movement | Synthetic Sea Solutions | Scoop.it

Report states they are seeing 3x the concentration as the sea and mostly micro particles of plastic.

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Garbage Island: An Ocean Full of Plastic (Part 3/3)

As if polluting an entire hemisphere's worth of the ocean with plastic weren't enough, we've also poisoned the food chain. Congrats, humanity. We're fucked. ...

 

I wanted to post this because although it has some coarse language , it is the best video that shows what goes on when Capt Charles Moore takes people on a gyre voyage to view what is happening to the oceans.   You feel the day to day boredom on the outward journey and then experience the sad facts about the garbage patch first hand from the viewpoint of the videographers.    A bit long, but makes a nice substitute for a half hour TV program and is very educational.   You feel like one of the crew.

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The Clean Oceans Project / Plastic To Oil Machine - Interviewed By Ken Spector

 http://www.facebook.com/livingecohttp://www.twitter.com/livingeco Nick Drobac, Founder an...

Nick Drobac, Founder and Executive Director of The Clean Oceans Project, is interviewed by LivingECO.com's Ken Spector.  Featured in the interview is the plastic to oil machine that could help to clean up the world's oceans including the Northern Pacific Gyre.

 

Plastic to Fuel Concept: http://thecleanoceansproject.org/plastictofuel.php     ; is interesting and uses 800 deg F temperature to vaporize plastic in a closed loop system.  Proports to be pollutant free with the exception of a small amount of CO2 and char residual.   Mentions that it takes about 8 lbs of plastic to make one gallon of fuel.  A large unit can process 2700 lbs of plastic in a 24 hr period runs about $700,000 according to Nick.

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Ocean Conservancy: Trash Free Seas

Ocean Conservancy: Trash Free Seas | Synthetic Sea Solutions | Scoop.it

Here at Ocean Conservancy, we believe it's time to look beneath the surface to see where the health of our planet really begins. It's time to start a sea change. Won't you join us?

 

A good way to get involved with ocean cleanup.   

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Bioplastics: Are They the Solution?

Bioplastics: Are They the Solution? | Synthetic Sea Solutions | Scoop.it

This is one of the good articles by Sarah "Steve" Mosko


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