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Viral 'plastic-eating' boat removes 3 tons of garbage per hour: 'This is actually so cool'

"This is brilliant."

“This is brilliant."

Photo Credit: TikTok

An ingenious solution to rid our oceans of plastic waste has been going viral after climate-positive content creator Sam Bentley explained the terrific technology.

In his video, Bentley breaks down how the Manta, a plastic-eating boat from ocean depollution organization The Sea Cleaners, works. 

He describes how the Manta is able to run for up to 20 hours a day thanks to a mixture of solar and wind power, as well as a waste-to-energy conversion unit on the boat that can create fuel from the plastic the vessel collects.

It can remove around three tons of waste from the water every hour, which is then taken on conveyor belts to be sorted into different material categories, including plastics, glass, and aluminum, which can be recycled back on land.

Bentley also notes the organization has installed a crane to help lift larger polluting items from the water, and it has smaller boats to skim for plastic waste in shallow waters.

It's a really impressive use of technology to take action against the plastic pollution problem, which is leaking toxic chemicals into water supplies and leading to the buildup of microplastics that can be ingested by sea creatures and harm marine habitats. The Sea Cleaners says that 1.5 million marine animals die every year because of plastic pollution. 

Commenters on the TikTok version of Bentley's video were stunned and fascinated by the Manta's capabilities.

"Boosting this because this is actually so cool," one user said, with another adding, "This is brilliant."

"Thank you for spreading positivity and making people smile," another user commented. 

According to The Sea Cleaners, 380 million tons of plastic is produced yearly worldwide, with 50% of this number being single-use products

The organization says up to 32% of plastic waste ends up in nature, and the ocean is particularly at risk, with nine to 14 tons entering the ocean every year.

This new technology, especially if more vessels are built, could dramatically reduce these levels.

But cutting plastic creation and use is perhaps more essential. Most plastics are made from dirty energy sources like oil, producing high levels of planet-warming gases in the creation of the material. And since toxic substances are used to make plastic, humans are at risk of a number of health problems if they are in regular contact with it.

Meanwhile, plastic doesn't break down naturally, staying in the environment for hundreds of years. 

While the Manta is a great way to clean up the plastic pollution that already exists, cutting our reliance on this material can help prevent the harm it can do. 

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