Macquarie 50th Anniversary Award
Cost to the global economy from ocean plastic pollution
Pieces of plastic currently floating in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch
of plastic in the ocean expected to be removed by 2040 as part of this initiative
Research by The Ocean Cleanup shows that approximately 80 million kilograms of floating plastic debris and 1.8 trillion pieces of microplastic are distributed across the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP). This is an area that’s three times the size of France, located between California and Hawaii, and the largest accumulation of ocean garbage in the world.
The Ocean Cleanup has also established that 1,000 of the world’s rivers are responsible for roughly 80 percent of riverine garbage entering the oceans.
The organisation is developing technological solutions to rid our world’s oceans of plastic by not only cleaning up existing waste, but preventing new plastic from entering the ocean. One is a passive ocean cleanup system to remove existing plastic pollution; and the second is the Interceptor™, a river system that intercepts plastic from rivers before it enters the ocean.
The Ocean Cleanup aims to remove 50 per cent of the GPGP every five years. Its longer-term goal is to rid all oceans of 90 per cent of floating plastic by 2040 and to tackle the world’s 1,000 most polluting rivers five years from rollout.
- Mary Reemst, Chair, Macquarie Group Foundation
The award will accelerate the critical development phase of the technology. Once the design of the ocean technology is proven, The Ocean Cleanup can begin its scale‑up to a full fleet of systems to be deployed across the GPGP and the remaining four gyres; all while they continue to move forward with tackling the top 1,000 most polluting rivers responsible for 80% of the plastic outflow.