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.”
Imagine you being a teenager with a burning desire to clean up someone else’s mess..
Doesn’t sound like a fun desire to have does it? Well to Boyan Slat, this desire was not only an overwhelming task to take on, but it was one to make a better world for both mankind and aquatic life. So with this desire, he started “The Ocean Cleanup”
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.
The scale of the plastic pollution problem, whereby in the case of Tsushima Island, approximately one cubic meter of pollution per person is washed up each year, has led the Japanese local government to seek innovative solutions to the problem.
About 8 million tons of plastic enters the ocean each year (Jambeck et al., 2015). Part of this accumulates in 5 areas where currents converge: the gyres. At least 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic are currently in the oceans (Eriksen et al., 2014), a third of which is concentrated in the infamous Great Pacific Garbage Patch (Cózar et al., 2014). This plastic pollution continues to do the following damage in the ages to come:
The deployment will represent an important milestone in The Ocean Cleanup’s mission to remove plastic pollution from the world’s oceans. Within five years, after a series of deployments of increasing scale, The Ocean Cleanup plans to deploy a 100km-long system to clean up about half the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, between Hawaii and California.
The array is projected to be deployed in Q2 2016. The feasibility of deployment off the coast of Tsushima, an island located in the waters between Japan and South Korea is currently being researched.
I, for one, love that someone is making a change!
I think the graduates of this year should take to heart to make some positive change to the world, even in the smallest ways. To make a change, is to improve the world for both yourself, and the future generation to come. I enjoyed looking into this project, and gives just a small glimmer of hope that we too can make a change to the world for the better.