Pollution & Sequestration
International pollution monitoring programs and agreements, including the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent organic Pollutants, have have helped mitigate environmental damage. These organizations and others have had notable successes in reducing the environmental concentration of some persistent organic pollutants (POPs) via banning the usage of particular substances after being deemed too toxic for continued public use. However, as industrial and agricultural systems continuously evolve, pollution monitoring programs also continuously study the toxicity and distribution of new chemicals as they emerge from the market system and are introduced into the environment. Due to the lag time between the introduction of a new chemical to the open environment and the ensuing toxicity studies associated with that chemical, pollution control groups are often relegated to a responsive role as opposed to a preventive role: it seems chemicals must be proven harmful before they are banned, instead of being proven harmless before being legalized for use.
Noting the distribution and disruption attributable to anthropomorphic chemicals in the open environment may be useful for the illustrative purpose of envisioning the significance of an effective remediation program. Once chemicals are disseminated into the environment, reversing the damage caused by the harmful substances can be complex and expensive, and are often futile. The chemical pollutants in question, which include broad families such as, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), persistent organohalogens, phthalates, dioxins, furans, and many others, are often characterized as being resistant to rapid decomposition, having lipophillic tendencies, and being semi-volatile. These attributes have very serious global health implications: these substances can bioaccumulate up the food chain, are known to be endocrine disruptors, are extremely ubiquitous such that traces are found in all of Earth's exposed air, water, and surface soil. Extensive documentation on disruptions to hormonal, immune, and reproductive systems of high trophic level animals by lipophilic endocrine disruptors is widely available online.
Semi-volatile pollutants evaporate from surface waters and soils in warmer regions and are transported by atmospheric circulation to cooler regions where they condense and fall to Earth's surface in rain and snow in a fractionation process known as global distillation. This means that vast, remote landscapes in polar-to-temperate zones are accumulating pollutants that can cause fetal malformations in non-industrialized indigenous populations, infertility in whales and polar bears, and untold long-term ecosystem damage.
Despite the staggering scope and breadth of global chemical pollution, a remediation technique using the hydrophobic properties of the aforementioned chemical groups is hereby proposed. It is noted that the neustonic (surface tension) layer of water bodies have particularly high concentrations of these toxins, and that they tend to adsorb onto the surfaces of plastics (adhering to non-polar surfaces). Henceforth, a resourceful solution to the chemical pollution problem is to process recycled plastic, in a proprietary method licensed to Abundant Seas Foundation by RED Rabbit LLC, in a configuration that allows for a high surface-area to mass ratio increasing the effectiveness of the scrubbing effect while using comparatively little plastic mass.
Different chemicals adsorb preferentially to different plastics. Thus, the fibrous filter will likely be heterogeneous in the sense that many different types of plastics will be exposed to an aqueous substrate to scrub a maximum range of chemical pollutants. Additionally, specialized coatings may be applied to the fibers in attempt to increase the saturation capacity of the filter. The design and manifestation of chemical-scrubbing devices will be sensitive to animal behavior. For instance, the fibrous plastic mass might be colored purple such that in the even that a chemical-scrubbing device is damaged and pieces of it are spilt into the environment, marine and aerial creatures will not confuse the plastic fiber as food because purple is not a usual color and shape in their dietary regime.
The previous paragraph uses a proactive solution which can be implemented immediately. There is no need to wait for toxicology assessments on anthropogenic chemicals in the environment. The proposed system is admirably resourceful: waste/recycled plastic is used to remove chemicals from water systems, and when the fibrous chemical-scrubbing plastic sponges approach saturation, a reprocessing unit re-vitrifies and re-spins the scrubber and in the process gasifies the chemicals and destroys them with a molecular-disassociation technique. Essentially, we can use recycled plastic to help whale, tuna, and human mothers alike, to have healthy babies by removing endocrine-disrupting chemicals from the food chain. This approach is not dependent on pollution assessment programs and pollution sequestration results are readily verifiable. Testing and verification methods can include immersing the fibrous scrubber in a test tank of water with a known percentage composition of target chemicals and then measuring the change in chemical concentration in the water after the scrubber has been removed.
Plastic Flotsam Concentration
Chart: Nikolai Maximenko Photo: Jay Directo / AFP / Getty Images
A. Persistent Hydrophobic Chemicals:
B. Plastic Trash in Gyre:
C. Clouds & Sea Surface Temperature
D. Atmospheric & Oceanographic Instruments Available to Clients:
The pelagic ocean is a relatively remote zone, and hence, there is a general lack of environmental data pertaining to this marine environment. The more that is known about the our oceans and our atmosphere, the better scientists are able to address environmental concerns including global warming, ocean acidification, wind intensification, and so on. With this insight, Pods are designed such that clients have the option of mounting environmental data-acquisition instrumentation onto the body of the Pod and along the length of the Danglia. For a better understanding about what types of instrumentation is commercially available, or the types of environmental parameters that are measurable, please navigate the following website:
E. Existence Proof of Chemical Sequestration Technology
F. Tracking & Monitoring Systems
G. Globally Distilled Chemical Pollutants
H. Preliminary Evidence of Detrimental Effects on Amphibians due to Agrochemicals
I. Preliminary Evidence of Detrimental Effects on Birds due to Plastics in Ocean Gyres