SodaStream, an Israel-based company that makes home carbonation machines and soda-making products, announced the launch of a plastic-cleaning contraption dubbed the "Holy Turtle" into the ocean today, TreeHugger reports.
The Holy Turtle — a 1,000-foot long floating contraption resembling a large pool noodle towed between two boats to catch plastic waste — is the first such cleanup initiative undertaken by a commercial company, though similar efforts have been carried out by nonprofit organizations.
The large contraption is engineered to capture floating waste while still allowing wildlife to swim safely through large vents. Inspired by oil spill containment systems, the design was developed by American Boom & Barrier Corporation (ABBCO) in Florida.
SodaStream is piloting the Holy Turtle in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Roatan, Honduras. The company's CEO, Daniel Birnbaum, was inspired to tackle plastic trash in the area after watching a video filmed by Carol Powers on the BBC, showing masses of floating plastic off the coast of the Roatan.
"We can't clean up all the plastic waste on the planet, but we each need to do whatever we can. The most important thing is to commit ourselves to stop using single-use plastic," Birnbaum noted in a press release.
Birnbaum has involved 300 of the company's executives from around the world, local Honduran school groups, and environmental NGOs in the cleanup.
"More than 8 million tons of plastic goes into the ocean every year. This plastic doesn't disappear. It breaks up into tiny particles, floats in the ocean, endangers marine life, and ends up in our food chain," Birnbaum said. "We must all put our hands together to reduce the use of single-use plastic and commit ourselves to changing our habits and go reusable. It's in our hands."
Meanwhile, a similar effort by Ocean Cleanup is underway to collect plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch — a floating trash island three times the size of France and contains 80,000 tons of waste. That contraption, Ocean Cleanup System 001, has now reached the garbage patch after months of testing.