An Ingenious Plan for the Ocean to Clean Itself Led By 20-Year-Old, Launching in 2016

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Photo Credit: theoceancleanup

Our oceans are the lifeblood of humanity and our planet. They flow over nearly three-quarters of the planet, holding 97 percent of its water and producing over half of the oxygen in the atmosphere, as well as absorbing the most carbon from it. Even if you don’t live anywhere near the ocean, it still affects your life as well as the lives of everyone around you. The air you breathe, the water you drink, products that keep you warm and safe, all rely on the ocean, whether they come directly from it, or are transported by it.

A 20-year-old Netherlands man who is the president and founder of Ocean Cleanup, and creator of its technology, Boyan Slat, says he can accomplish his goal of cleaning the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. His plan for the ocean to clean itself was something he set out to do quite some time ago, and now, it seems his dream might just be coming to fruition.

The massive rotating currents in the planet’s oceans make collecting or even monitoring garbage difficult, but Boyan’s Ocean Cleanup Foundation is developing a way to use those currents to its advantage. He envisions long-distance arrays of floats that would skim garbage from the surface while allowing marine life and the currents themselves to pass by underneath. The company estimates that a stationary cleanup array could remove 42 percent of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch over the next decade, which would be about 70,320,000 kilograms of plastic waste. For now, they’re installing a 6,562-foot trial system in Japan, off Tsushima island, which lies between Japan and South Korea.

The system will be operational for two years, gathering plastic waste before it reaches the shores of Tsushima. In addition, the organization is working with Tsushima Island to determine if the collected waste can be used as an alternative energy source.

If all goes well, The Ocean Cleanup will deploy an over 621-mile system to tackles the Great Pacific Garbage Patch within the next five years. Here’s hoping for the success of this highly innovative project!