As hard as we work on observation, research and education….at some point we need to get to solutions. Dr. Marcus Eriksen and I recently went up to Montreal Canada to look at a promising new solution. Something called a Plasma Resource Recovery System – or PRRS promises exciting potential as one solution in this super complex problem of marine debris. Take ordinary trash, grind it up and subject it temperatures hotter than the surface of the sun (13,000+ degrees F) and “interesting” things happen. This is not burning, but molecular disintegration that takes any matter down to the atomic level. In goes plastic, out comes C, H, N, O and other elements. Extreme violence. This can make fuel and recover valuable materials. Too early to tell how this may work work in a global waste management context, but it is important to look at such new technology. PyroGenesis Canada is developing this technology for ships and land based applications.
What is very, very interesting for the 5Gyres team is to reconsider how we look at marine debris and shorelines. While always a bad thing, there may be a critical silver lining. These coastal areas do act as perhaps the only viable “nets” that can capture floating debris. Thinking of this as waves of hydrocarbon rich fuel that is regularly delivered to these shores gives us hope. Could a power generation network be built, supplanting costly diesel generators, on remote islands that also serves to scavenge oceanic debris???
Have a look at Marcus’s excellent blog