(a bit of a different tone than WaPo!)
A massive typhoon slammed into a U.S. territory in the west Pacific, lashing the Northern Mariana Islands with gusts of Category 5 intensity Wednesday night local time. Super typhoon Yutu brought to bear maximum sustained winds of about 180 mph — much more powerful, in other words, than the historically powerful storm that hit Florida two weeks ago.
… The more than 50,000 people who live in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands faced a storm surge of up to 20 feet and rainfall of up to 10 inches in certain areas.
…”Devastating damage is expected. Collapse of some residential structures will put lives at risk. Airborne debris will cause extensive damage,” the service warned. “Persons … pets … and livestock struck by the wind-blown debris will be injured or killed.”
The hope is that the vessel, the first of a planned fleet or 60 or more, can strain out the millions of pounds of plastic trash that collects in slow-moving ocean whirlpools called gyres, which can be hundreds of miles across.
…Currents and waves push trash into the machine’s center to collect it. Floating particles are captured by the net while the push of water against the net propels fish and other marine life under and beyond.
…The system is fitted with solar-powered lights and anti-collision systems to keep any stray ships from running into it, along with cameras, sensors and satellites that allow it to communicate with its creators.
…If all goes well, it will be towed out to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch nearly 1,400 miles off the West Coast, about halfway between California and Hawaii. A support vessel will fish out the collected plastic every few weeks, according to the Associated Press. The waste will then be transported to dry land for recycling.
Yes, we need to reduce the plastic we use but unless that mythical day, this seems like a logical step in the right direction.