How to get rid of all that garbage floating around in our waters? One of the ideas having caught my attention is the prototype of a catamaran called Seekuh (sea cow). It is currently being built and ready for its mission in summer 2016.
Plastic garbage in shallow waters, seas and oceans is omnipresent. Tons of plastic bags, fishing nets, bottles, cosmetic product waste and the like pollute our water. Three quarters of all the garbage in oceans consists of plastics. And those need a couple of centuries to decompose.
All that waste in water is a major danger to wildlife and, ultimately, humans. If you are rather new to this topic, check out these Basic Q&A regarding waste in oceans.
A catamaran called Seekuh (Sea Cow)
Worldwide, awareness to actually do something about all that waste in oceans has increased dramatically in recent years. Lots of projects and initiatives have been started. A pretty cool one I found to be a catamaran called Sea Cow (Seekuh). What is this supposed to be, or mean?
The Luebeck based dockyard “Yacht Trave Schiff GmbH” builds a catamaran that will collect garbage while cruising the seas. The production of the cat has been initiated by “One Earth – One Ocean”. They are an association with the ambitious goal to “clean up the coasts, oceans, lakes and streams from plastic debris and other harmful waste”.
Seekuh’s two hulls will be 12 metres long, each. A flexible, net-like construct will be attached between the hulls. This construct will then fish larger pieces of garbage out of the water, up to a depth of four metres. With a speed of two knots it will stay close to shores and collect up to two tons of garbage per ride (cruise…). That marine debris will then be recycled on land.
Prototype – and then?
The prototype of catamaran Seekuh will cost up to EUR 250.000. Its main area of operations is inshore or near the coast. If its testing phase during summer 2016 shows positive results more of those cats will very likely be ordered.
“Of course we can as of today not go out there and clean up all of our oceans”, says Günther Bonin, chairman of One Earth – One Ocean. “To clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, hundreds of ‘Sea Cows’ would be required. We will start with small steps, prove that our concept works fine and then we will target larger topics”.
And it is, of course, not always about oceans. Just look at the shores of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany’s most Northern county between North Sea and Baltic Sea. Something like 240.000 tons of garbage accumulate there annually. How much does make its way into the water? Too much.
From Sea Cow to Sea Elephant
So, if you think the concept of ‘Sea Cow’ sounds pretty interesting you might also like the next project the folks of One Earth – One Ocean are about to initiate with Yacht Trave Schiff GmbH. Also cleaning the oceans, but by far a larger ship and having some exciting features is the ‚Sea Elephant‘. In addition to collecting garbage the Sea Elephant will use the debris to produce energy and thus power itself. This is a very interesting approach to self-sufficient energy supply.
Just imagine what those Elephants could do if this turns out to work properly! Let them roam around the seas and oceans 24/7 for a while, and it might all look a bit better out there. And all we, the consumers and producers of all that rubbish, would have to do is stop getting garbage into our waters. There might be hope and a chance after all.
What do you think, will we manage to pull ourselves together and make this planet a nice and cosy place to live for future generations? I am getting, slowly but surely, more confident.