Over seven millions tons of plastic. That’s one of the big problems our oceans are facing right now. To be specific, our oceans contain 7,250,000 tons of plastic. This is a problem so large, it’s almost impossible to find a place to begin solving such an enormous problem. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.
19-year-old Boyan Slat had an idea in 2013. His idea proposed a way that would remove over seven million tons of plastic from our oceans in just five years. Now 20-years-old, he is the founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup and has just announced that this amazing project will be deployed in 2016. This announcement was made at Asia’s largest technology conference, Seoul Digital Forum, in South-Korea.
“Slat’s invention consists of an anchored network of floating booms and processing platforms that could be dispatched to garbage patches around the world. Working with the flow of nature, his solution to the problematic shifting of trash is to have the array span the radius of a garbage patch, acting as a giant funnel as the ocean moves through it. The angle of the booms would force plastic in the direction of the platforms, where it would be separated from smaller forms, such as plankton, and be filtered and stored for recycling. The issue of by-catches, killing life forms in the procedure of cleaning trash, can be virtually eliminated by using booms instead of nets and it will result in a larger areas covered. Because of trash’s density compared to larger sea animals, the use of booms will allow creatures to swim under the booms unaffected, reducing wildlife death substantially.” quote
“The system will span 2000 meters, thereby becoming the longest floating structure ever deployed in the ocean (beating the current record of 1000 m held by the Tokyo Mega-Float). It will be operational for at least two years, catching plastic pollution before it reaches the shores of the proposed deployment location of Tsushima island. Tsushima island is evaluating whether the plastic can be used as an alternative energy source.”
Boyan Slat, founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup: “Taking care of the world’s ocean garbage problem is one of the largest environmental challenges mankind faces today. Not only will this first cleanup array contribute to cleaner waters and coasts but it simultaneously is an essential step towards our goal of cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This deployment will enable us to study the system’s efficiency and durability over time.
In the waves of change, we find our true direction. We all have large obstacles ahead of us, but having the confidence and persistence to face them head on speak to true character. We're so encouraged to see the next generation is stepping up to solve some of our world's biggest problems. There is no problem so large, in our own lives or in the world as a whole, that we cannot attempt to make progress on it.