100 Mind-blowing Things You Need To Know About Ocean Plastic Cleanup

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Fahri Karakas
22 min readOct 2


Photo by Naja Bertolt Jensen on Unsplash

Here is the prompt I have used:

“100 hyper-specific, surprising, mind-blowing and niche things I absolutely need to know about ocean plastic clean-up. Each must be explained with evidence and/or examples. Surprise me each time. Avoid generic stuff and clichés.”

Here is the response:

1. Microbes to the rescue: Researchers have discovered specialized bacteria that break down plastic in the ocean. These microbes, such as Ideonella sakaiensis, can efficiently degrade common plastics like PET, opening up new possibilities for bio-based plastic clean-up. (Evidence: Yoshida et al., 2016)

2. Robot fish collect trash: Engineers have developed autonomous robotic fish that mimic real fish behavior to detect and collect ocean debris. These biomimetic robots, equipped with recycling capabilities, can navigate narrow spaces and effectively clean up plastic waste in hard-to-reach areas. (Example: “SoFi” robotic fish developed by MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory)

3. Ocean plastic for fashion: Fashion brands are now incorporating recycled ocean plastic into their products. Companies like Adidas have partnered with organizations to transform marine debris into performance sportswear, raising awareness about the issue while creating sustainable fashion options. (Example: Adidas x Parley collaboration)

4. Artistic plastic debris sculptures: Artists worldwide are using discarded ocean plastic to create extraordinary sculptures and installations. One such instance is Washed Ashore, a project that crafts massive sea creature sculptures out of plastic waste found on beaches, drawing attention to the magnitude of ocean pollution. (Example: The Washed Ashore exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History)

5. Ocean “vacuum cleaners”: The Dutch non-profit organization The Ocean Cleanup has developed large-scale ocean cleanup systems that act as “passive plastic collectors.” These innovative floating barriers use natural oceanic forces to concentrate and extract plastic waste, reducing the clean-up process from centuries to just a few years. (Evidence: The Ocean Cleanup’s various successful…



Fahri Karakas

Associate Professor in Business & Leadership at University of East Anglia. Passionate about doodling, imagination, and creativity. Author of Self-Making Studio.