We throw millions of tons of plastic and other non-degradable trash into seas every year where ocean currents take it away, leaving much of our shores clean. But since, it cannot sink to the bottom of the ocean and cannot be decomposed, it has to go somewhere. That place accounts to five areas in the world where there are massive concentrations of oceanic trash. So, this Dutch kid had an idea that we could use these concentrations of rubbish to get rid of most of the trash in the oceans.
Boyan Slat, the 20-year old founder of Ocean Cleanup Foundation, got this idea back in high school when he was working on a compulsory project. He ended up spending five hundred hours on the work instead of the mandated eighty. The system heavily relies on “natural current movements” to gather all of the garbage and get rid of it. It was a well-known startup that has won numerous accolades like best Technical Design at Delft University of Technology as well as getting wide recognition at TedxDelft in 2012. He eventually transformed his company into a not-for-profit entity and completed his feasibility studies shortly.
We throw a lot of garbage and debris into the oceans, and it is difficult to clean the shores up as tides are changing direction all the time, and their area is just too big. Why not let the ocean do its job and take it away to somewhere where we ca lay a trap for it all. That trap is the Ocean Cleanup Array that consists of a floating processing unit and arms that will cover the radius of a rotating current. These arms act like a giant funnel that direct the trash to the center of the array where the processing unit is present. The processing unit take the trash out and stores them in containers awaiting recycling.
According to the organization’s calculations, one-third of all oceanic trash can be cleared with the help of this technique. It translates into roughly 725 million tons of less ocean trash especially in those trash filled areas. Despite the project helping a lot, to get rid of the population as a whole, the world needs to adopt a strict anti-plastic policy.It also needs to encourage recycling of the trash, before it is thrown into the oceans to be taken away.
Take a look at Slat’s incredible journey towards making this project a success: