We humans are surely the architects of our own demise. What made us say this? Have you ever noticed what we are doing to the nature around us? How we are damaging it and polluting it with everything that is at our disposable. You would be surprised to know but we have been dumping plastic and other stuff into the ocean for quite sometime now, almost 50 years to be precise, and that up till now about 600 billion metric ton plastic has been produced. A huge number of seabirds and fish have died because of the poisoning and the fishing industry is incurring damages that exceed millions of dollars per year. A survey conducted at the European seafloor off the coast of Europe concludes that the garbage pile is only 4.5 km below the surface now.
How do we clean up this mess? The idea presented by a 19 year old, Boyan Slat, was so powerful that the youngster went and started a company by the name of The Ocean Cleanup. The inspiration to take up this project came when he was busy swimming in the waters of Greece and found that the water had a large number of plastic bags and not enough fish. This was when the obsession to clean the ocean started and his organization has recently released a feasibility report in this regard that talks about a novel method to accomplish this monumental task.
Slat’s idea revolves around deploying several V-shaped floating barriers that would be moored to the seabed and placed in the path of major ocean currents. The V barriers have 30 mile long arms that are designed to catch buoyant garbage and trash floating three meters below the surface while allowing sea life to pass underneath. Computer simulations show that if this method, costing 31.7 million Euros, is implemented then in the next ten years the Great Pacific Garbage Patch can be reduced by 50%.
This particular approach is, still with the cost that it will incur, surprisingly 33 times cheaper as compared to all other clean up methods that are available. The method also does not endanger any wildlife and has been tested at the Azores Islands where it deemed successful. The collected plastic can be subsequently converted to oil.
The approach sure is promising, however, until the awareness comes that how our acts are impacting nature and people start acting responsibly instead of throwing garbage in the ocean, we are afraid not much will change.