The Ocean Cleanup Project: What It Is and What You Can Do

Although we may already be familiar with Boyan Slat’s Ocean Cleanup Project, and perhaps even the recent advancements in phase two, we can now ask how to get involved in a variety of ways. In his recently posted article on Business Connect World, John Hawthorne brings together the vision behind the international Ocean Cleanup Project. Here is an excerpt:

So, what’s the next step you can take to help the Ocean Cleanup Project, or just to help clean up our waterways, bodies of water, and expanses of fresh and saltwater? While it may seem unlikely, small efforts by individuals can make go a long way toward decreasing the garbage in our oceans.

When speaking specifically about the Ocean Cleanup Project, there are a few specific ways to help this foundation inch their way toward success.

  • First, you can simply help fund the cleanup. The foundation needs help bridging the gap between their first-system and the full-scale development of the plans they have to clean up the Pacific Garbage Patch. The foundation states that any amount helps to further their mission, so donating is certainly a great way to get involved.
  • Second, you can volunteer your time, skills, and efforts to the cause. According to their site, there are plenty of career, as well as volunteer, opportunities to work with the foundation.

Speaking generally, though, you can help reduce the amount of garbage in the ocean and contribute to solving the trash problem by making small dedicated efforts.

  • Recycle
  • Support bans
  • Reduce your use of single-use plastics
  • Avoid microbeads in cosmetic products
  • Back organizations that work to fight pollution and encourage ocean cleanup

Visit John Hawthorne’s FULL original article with a new video here:

CEF FFT:  The environmental impact we have affects not only the living creatures inhabiting of bodies of water and land, but even the health of us human beings unto ourselves.

Thanks for the share John!

Project AWARE: Dive Against Debris

Project AWARE (non-profit organization) is a global movement of scuba divers protecting our ocean planet – one dive at a time. Focused on the critical issues of Sharks in Peril and Marine Debris, Project AWARE empowers thousands to work together for a clean, healthy and abundant ocean planet.

Also,  check out the conservation tools on their website which helps you get connected with other divers, fundraising, info on marine life and marine debris. Dive Against Debris “want(s) to empower you – scuba divers, instructors and ocean enthusiasts – to take action for ocean protection!” On their website you’ll find free downloads, educational resources, tool kits and more.

“Don’t let your dives go to waste! Grab your mesh bag, scuba gear and data card to make every dive a Dive Against Debris” (-Dive Against Debris)

Check out their site here!

Marine Debris Tracker


(ABOVE: Marine Debris Tracker)

The Mobile App Marine Debris Tracker originated in 2010 from a joint partnership of the NOAA Marine Debris Program and the Southeast Atlantic Marine Debris Initiative (SEA-MDI), located within the College of Engineering at the University of Georgia.

A primary goal of SEA-MDI was to use innovative technologies and unique expertise to add culturally relevant outreach tools and information to the NOAA Marine Debris Program.

Marine Debris Tracker is a product of this initiative. Their goal is to spread awareness of marine debris, as well as serve as an easy to use and simple tool for marine debris data collection. In 2015, funding from 11th Hour Racing (A Program of The Schmidt Family Foundation) is allowed them to expand the tracker as a culturally relevant outreach and data collection tool for the sailing community.

Check out Marine Debris online for more information and to start geotagging litter!

CEF FFT: This could be a very useful tool for cleanup crews to use to arrange events knowing ahead of time there is something to clean.

Rozalia Project

“Our mission is to protect the ocean.” (Rozalia Project)

Rozalia Project has an amazing collection of efforts being brought together to tackle pollution.

One cool tool they use for volunteer cleanups is their Rozalia Project Marine Debris Data Card to keep tabs on what trash has been collected.

Here is an excerpt from Rozalia Project’s mission statement:

Prevention: stopping trash getting into the water, and remediation: removing trash from the water and shores before it breaks down into micro size pieces, are the cornerstones of Rozalia Project’s belief that we can clean our oceans.
Here are the strategies and solutions that Rozalia Project is currently using to combat the problem of ocean pollution.
Rozalia Project is using existing technologies in new ways and developing new technologies to clean our oceans from the surface to the seafloor:
Baleen Basker – low bycatch marine debris net
Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV)
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
Sailing Research Vessel (American Promise)
High Resolution Ocean Trash Forecasting
Rozalia Project Ocean Pollution Fellowship Program (Guest Scientists berths available on every 2014 research expedition)
Rozalia Project Undergraduate Intern Program
Rozalia Project has educated 47,000+ people of all ages about the effects and solutions to ocean trash through our in person education programs and our Expedition Reports/ virtual crew member programs over the last 4 years.
Rozalia Project, from inception to present, has removed 565,000+ pieces of ocean trash from the waters and shorelines of North America by leading a variety of our own and volunteer cleanups with the following featured partnerships and programs.
We need knowledge before we can act, thus Rozalia Project has implemented several scientific research projects to develop data from which we can produce solutions.
Rozalia Project is promoting several physical land based solutions to reduce the land to sea transport of trash.
For more information and videos visit their website Rozalia Project.

Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE


The last time the ocean was as acidic as it is now was 50 million years ago and the change occurred over millennia, not over decades.  We now know that the oceans cannot take infinite abuse.

The Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE is a 2 year competition worth $2 million dollars for team to create radical breakthroughs in measurement technology, namely ocean acidification (pH levels). The point of the competition is to accurately measure acidification for the first time. This alerts people to the fact that we’ve got a problem that is so important that someone is willing to put up private resources as a reward. One of the goals of this prize is to bring more instruments to the problem. There has been an ongoing dearth of data on the state of the health of the oceans. This is an opportunity to start fresh with new tools to share with the public what is really going on.

Measuring the pH in the oceans efficiently and effectively is no easy task. It isn’t only a challenge of accurate measurement but also the depth with which the sensors are able to sink and still perform.

Check out the source link at for a video and to find out which team won the prize!

The ocean is critical for the planet and all living species. If competitions like this bring passionate endeavoring people together to make leaps, then what an amazing thing it would be for more such innovation-driven events to emerge.


In Delft, Netherlands a team by the name of “Se@Drone” is developing an unmanned surface and underwater drone duo that can pick up trash off the bottom of the sea floor! The surface drone holds the underwater drone during travel and releases it with a winch as a life-line. Once the underwater drone finds trash on the sea floor 4 sides can close around the waste.

Check out SeaDroneNL’s facebook page for more infomation!

( Link: )

Undersea Oil Spill Device

At the age of 18, Karan Jerath of Friendswood, Texas won the top prize for Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (IISEF) for inventing a device that shuts down undersea oil spills.

Jerath was also one of the five students selected for the Intel and Indo-US Science and Technology Forum Visit to India Award. Jerath designed a sturdy device that can collect the oil, gas and water spewing from a broken well on the seafloor.

“Sensors inside the 350-ton device would measure the temperature, pressure and density of the mix of gases and fluids erupting from a well,” Karan said. “A computer would then calculate how valves in the gadget should be adjusted so that the gas and oil can be collected. That should stop a spill in its tracks. The device could help prevent an ecological catastrophe. It also would reduce cleanup costs.”

 (Source: Huffington Post)

Edible 6-Pack Rings

edible6packringSaltwater Brewery out of Florida has come up with a possible solution to the extreme waste of plastic we find in the ocean from beer rings. Make the rings not only biodegradable but edible!

They say that the United States consumes roughly 6.3 Billion gallons of beer each year, 50% in cans, which means a significant amount of the plastic 6-pack rings end up in the ocean. Sea life, whether it be birds or aquatic life get trapped in the plastic try eating it but are unable to digest so it gets stuck in their stomachs. Some people think that the idea of cutting or ripping the plastic rings will solve the problem, but the animals can still take them in not knowing the plastic material is harmful.

Imagine if the cost to manufacture edible plastic rings dropped because more companies opted to use them? It could mean a significant drop in plastics finding their way into the ocean.

Watch a video here to find out more about Saltwater Brewery‘s vision for cutting down on plastics in the ocean!

Mushrooms Can Help Save the World

pioppino_mushroomsPaul Stamets of British Columbia is a mycologist who has discovered some fascinating results in his research on the fungi we call mushrooms!

Pioppino mushrooms have been shown to induce tumor regression, reversing cancer in lab mice. Oddly enough, this same species also controlled blood sugar in diabetic mice.

There are mushrooms which can clean up the oil from oil spills, beehive-like Agarikon dangles that can provide a defense against weaponized smallpox. It is amazing to think about what potential tools we can find to reverse the damage we’ve done to the planet–and they are all naturally occurring in nature.

Stamets also has written a book, Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World.  He believes that these particular mushrooms can serve as revolutionary tools in the fields of medicine, forestry, pesticides and pollution control. To find out more information check out this link to a full on article with Stamets.


tagaytayaccord_640x320For Stiv Wilson, it started off when he noticed a patch of flotsam waste off of the Oregon coast. Then, after researching more into “Ocean Plastic” he was inspired to help put together “The 5 Gyres Project” mounting the task with a few other visionaries they accrued various findings (Check out his website for more figures!). After no time at all had plastic bags no longer distributed in Oregon state as well as putting a huge halt on plastic microbeads found in beauty and cosmetic products.

“[…the] result was a collective vision and set of principles that we’re calling The Tagaytay Accord, as well as a series of proposed collaborative projects we plan to launch in 2017. This fall, we announced this movement effort and asked other groups to join us. Within days, more than 500 organizations signed on, and agreed to build this movement together. We’re calling this movement #BreakFreeFromPlastic.”

-Stiv Wilson, (

It is clear the the efforts worldwide are not only in regards to recovery from ecological damage that has been done to the planet but also in the prevention of further environmental destruction. Cutting back on what is harmful to the ecosystem is as important as cleaning up the mess we’ve already made. And, of course, how we dispose, reuse and recycle our waste. Aiming to break a vicious cycle!