According to FactCompany, the Worlds ambitious plan to rid the Ocean of plastic Wastes is now ready after years of development.
The non-profit organization The Ocean Cleanup founded by Boyan Slat who conceived the idea as a 16 year old boy, will begin the process of installing its plastic capturing device in the Pacific Ocean this week. The company designed and created a unique system that will take the first steps to ridding the oceans of floating plastic.
The machine uses large floating tubes of durable plastic, that sit on the ocean’s surface, held in place by floating anchors. The u-shaped floating barrier is designed to catch the plastic, which is then collected.
A strong nylon screen, attached underneath, will catch some of the plastic below the surface but is designed in a way so to not snag marine life. The system will now start a long slow process of install.
First, a section of the floating tube will be towed out of the San Francisco Bay, along the coast of the Farallon Islands. This initial stage tests the tubes ability to be towed.
Next, the small section will be brought back, attached to the larger section to form 2,000 feet of piping. The assembled system will be taken 200 miles offshore for a final test to ensure everything is working as it should.
By late Autumn a shipment of plastic will be returned for recycling. Some of the matter may be used to create consumer goods.
At age 17 , Boyan Slat observed while diving in Greece that he saw more plastic than fish. His curiosity took the better of him as he decided to devote a high school project to deeper investigation into ocean plastic pollution and why it was considered impossible to clean up. He came up with the idea to build a passive system, using the circulating ocean currents to his advantage.
Boyan Slat, while presenting at TEDx Talk in Delft in 2012 outlined his vision for reducing garbage in oceans. The talk went viral and received mixed reactions.
Barely few months to his Aerospace Engineering studies at TU Delft, he dropped out of school in February 2013 to devote all his time to developing his idea. He founded The Ocean Cleanup in 2013, and managed to raise $2.2 million in a crowdfunding campaign as well as build a team for the project.
in 2014 a feasibility report of the project was unveiled, which concluded that the concept is a viable method to clean the oceans from plastic. The report, which took more than a year of extensive scientific research in engineering, oceanography, ecology, maritime law, finance and recycling included a team of over 100 experts who worked on voluntary basis.
6 years after the first conception, the machine is ready to sail for its first major clean up.
While the Ocean Cleanup project is an integral part of tackling the plastic problem, which is already having far reaching negative implication on aquatic life, it isn’t going to stop the flow of plastic into the ocean. It will require extensive massive collaboration in stopping the flow of trash into the ocean. Experts suggest there is urgent need to look at the way we used plastic products.
Sander Defruyt, New Plastics Economy lead for the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, an organization that works on helping create closed-loop systems for plastic noted that “To tackle the plastic pollution crisis, there is an urgent need to rethink the way we make, use, and reuse plastics. This will require innovators, industry, and governments to collaborate and develop solutions that prevent plastic from becoming waste in the first place.”
Boyan Slat himself once admited that: “Although a cleanup will have a profound effect, it is just part of the solution. We also need to close the tap, to prevent any more plastic from reaching the oceans in the first place.”
Compiled by isqil Najim with additional information from: FastCompany, Interesting Engineering, The Ocean Cleanup