[WATCH] Slovak Designer Petrakova wins top prize for ocean cleaning facility prototype called 8th Continent

A self-sufficient ocean cleaning prototype features a research facility, education centre, greenhouse, and housing for researchers. Named the 8th Continent, the floating superstructure could be the answer to the plastic pollution in the ocean.
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It has been named the 8th Continent. No, not the disappeared, submerged one under the South Pacific ocean called Zealandia but an ocean-cleaning facility prototype. Created by Slovak Designer Lenka Petrakova, the innovative prototype won the highest award in an architectural competition for projects that offer creative solutions to environmental challenges, The Calvert Journal reported.

This floating station is designed to clean the plastic waste from the ocean. According to studies, 300 million tons of plastic gets created yearly and an estimated 8 million tons of that plastic ends up in oceans every year. 

An estimated 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic waste is currently in oceans. It is believed that 70% of garbage debris sinks into the oceans’ ecosystem, 15% floats and 15% lands on the beaches. It takes hundreds of years for plastic to decompose and spread micro pieces all over the planet. Approximately 1.6 million square metres of marine debris covers the surface in North Pacific, and it is known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. 

The 8th Continent received the 2020 Grand Prix Award for Architecture and Innovation of the Sea from Fondation Jaques Rougerie. 

According to the demonstration, the Petrakova model features petal-shaped buildings that stand on tentacle-like platforms. These structures all work together to collect plastic debris from the water’s surface and transform it into recyclable material. 

The facility also houses a research and education centre, a greenhouse for hydroponic cultivation, and a living facility for the station’s researchers. The floating superstructure is designed to be self-sufficient and to allow wind to pass through, making it resistant to strong ocean winds while collecting water for irrigation and harnessing tidal and solar energy. 

In 2016, Ellen MacArthur Foundation study predicted that oceans will contain more plastic than fish by 2050 if nothing is done about it. The 2020 COVID-19 global pandemic has increased the risk of plastic pollution in oceans. Since March of last year, more single-use medical equipment has been used by the majority of the world’s population in efforts to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  

According to a study ‘Increased plastic pollution due to COVID-19 pandemic: Challenges and recommendations”, only about 20% of environmental sciences addressed the effects of COVID-19 disease on waste and plastic pollution. The paper reviews the potential impact of the pandemic on the public’s behaviour toward single-use items and waste management. 

As of now, the 8th Continent remains an unbuilt project. 

Featured Image: Lenka Petrakova

Wiki Production Code: A0479

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