Previously the idea of cleaning up the world’s oceans with their vast accumulations of disposed plastic material was considered an impossibility. Now a 19-year-old inventor says he and his foundation has a way to clean up the world’s oceans, and not only does he say we can do it, but that we can do it in five years time and produce a profit from it.
It is called the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ or sometimes the “Pacific Trash Vortex”, and it is a massive collection of plastic particles accumulating in the Pacific. Other oceans have their own collections of plastic wastes as well; furthermore, most of the debris in our oceans are plastic materials that accounts for approximately 90% of all the waste debris.
Scientists have considered all manner of ways how the debris could be retrieved but there was no clear answer for it.
Now a 19-year-old inventor by the name of Boyan Slat says we can remove nearly 20 billion tons of plastic waste with his concept he calls an ocean cleanup array. It is made from a massive series of floating booms and processing platforms that gradually suck in the floating plastic like a giant funnel.
The angle with how the array is set up allows all of the plastic to go to where the platforms processing centers are floating. At the platform processing area it would separate the naturally occurring life such as plankton an only keep the plastic materials to be recycled.
What is most impressive about the array is that once it goes operational it would clean up the oceans in only 5 years time! He also makes a point in saying that due to the vastness of our oceans most do not know how badly polluted the oceans really are.
“One of the problems with preventive work is that there isn’t any imagery of these ‘garbage patches’, because the debris is dispersed over millions of square kilometers,” Slat says on his website. “By placing our arrays however, it will accumulate along the booms, making it suddenly possible to actually visualize the oceanic garbage patches. We need to stress the importance of recycling, and reducing our consumption of plastic packaging.”
Slat was able to come up with the idea while in school, and so he wrote a paper on his concept. Once Slat’s paper was published it immediately caught the attention of many marine experts. His paper won all manner of prizes, which included the Best Technical Design 2012 from the Delft University of Technology.
When he and others realized that the concept would work he took a leap of faith and created a non-profit organization he calls The Ocean Cleanup Foundation. This group will focus on the goal of developing his invention, raise funds for it and make it operational as soon as possible. His concept would save numerous aquatic species of fish and help reduce PCB and DDT containments affecting all of us. Best of all it operates on the power of the sun and by the oceans themselves.
Not only is Slat’s concept self-powered, it would also be very profitable from the all the recycling, which is estimated in the amount of 500 million dollars (U.S.) per year. According to Slat’s website it “would make in fact more money than the plan would cost to execute. In other words; it’s profitable.”
And now for the other side: “The Fallacy of Cleaning the Gyres of Plastic With a Floating “Ocean Cleanup Array”
The Fallacy of Cleaning the Gyres of Plastic With a Floating “Ocean Cleanup Array” The 5 Gyres Institute, Stiv J. Wilson
As the policy director of the ocean conservation nonprofit 5Gyres.org, I can tell you that the problem of ocean plastic pollution is massive. In case you didn’t know, an ocean gyre is a rotating current that circulates within one of the world’s oceans – and recent research has found that these massive systems are filled with plastic waste. There are no great estimates (at least scientific) on how much plastic is in the ocean, but I can say from firsthand knowledge (after sailing to four of the world’s five gyres) that it’s so pervasive it confounds the senses. Gyre cleanup has often been floated as a solution in the past, and recently Boyan Slat’s proposed ‘Ocean Cleanup Array’ went viral in a big way. The nineteen-year-old claims that the system can clean a gyre in 5 years with ‘unprecedented efficiency’ and then recycle the trash collected. The problem is that the barriers to gyre cleanup are so massive that the vast majority of the scientific and advocacy community believe it’s a fool’s errand – the ocean is big, the plastic harvested is near worthless, and sea life would be harmed. The solutions starts on land.
People also thought that Leonardo Da Vinci, Galileo, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Tim Berners Lee (http internet) were nuts.