We can do wonders if we decide to never stop dreaming. The dream of a young boy, Boyan Slat, eventually resulted in an invention that taught the entire world a lesson and can combat one of the main problems of modern society- plastic pollution.
At the age of 18, the young genius launched a nonprofit called The Ocean Cleanup, whose primary goal is to clean the oceans of plastic waste.
The team now consists of over 80 engineers, researchers, scientists and computational modelers dedicated to developing advanced technologies to fight plastic pollution and clean oceans.
Slat has designed a device to eliminate litter from the ocean, and several years later, it was ready to be tried in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the largest collection of ocean plastics in the world.
It is located between California and Hawaii, covering 600,000 square miles of the ocean, and leading to the deaths of more than 100,000 animals across 700 species.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch indirectly affects humans as well, and according to the nonprofit:
“Once plastic enters the marine food web, there is a possibility that it will contaminate the human food chain as well.”
Their first tool was launched in the Pacific Ocean in September 2018, but it was found to be spilling the collected plastic back on the ocean. Therefore, the device had to be modified, and the organization improved it.
The new version is using underwater parachutes to slow the array’s movement through the water. According to Slat, this would allow the device to “take the plastic distribution down from twice the size of the state of Texas, to 1/35 the size of the city of Houston.”
The Ocean Cleanup website explains how the latest version works:
“ Our cleanup technology has been designed to do the hard job of concentrating the plastic first before it can be effectively removed from the ocean.
The system consists of a long floater that sits at the surface of the water and skirt that hangs beneath it. The floater provides buoyancy to the entire system, while the skirt prevents debris from escaping underneath and leads it into the retention system, or cod end. A cork line above the skirt prevents overtopping and keeps the skirt afloat.”
Every few months, ships will gather the trash and return it to land to be recycled.
Models indicate that Slat’s cleaning device could clean the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by 50% in just five years. The nonprofit hopes that “ after fleets of systems are deployed into every ocean gyre, combined with source reduction”, this device will eradicate 90% of ocean plastic by 2040.
Slat’s vision is to get rid of all ocean debris by 2050.
Keep your fingers crossed!
Boyan Slat, the founder of The Ocean Cleanup, has invented a device that eradicates plastic from oceans
The system works with ocean currents to capture the floating trash and consists of a screen anchored by a floater
The invention tackles the Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Slat believes his invention can cleanse oceans of plastic by 2050