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Plastic is an incredibly convenient invention; we use it for just about everything, bottles, bags, storage items, dishes, the list goes on and on. But sadly, there is a major cost that comes with this convenience. Although we might try our best to recycle as much plastic as possible, only around five percent gets reclaimed. The other 95 ends up in landfills and, predominantly, the oceans.

There is an estimated 270,000 tons of plastic floating on the surface of the world’s oceans … and this is just the surface. Adding to this surface plastic are tiny microplastics that we can’t see; a recent study found that 88 percent of ocean water contains thousands of floating microplastics. What’s worse is that this plastic has a serious impact on marine species.

It is estimated that around 700 species, some of which are already endangered, are threatened with extinction due to the presence of plastic. And this is only set to get worse as our plastic use continues.

Twenty-year-old Boyan Slat, however, believes he has a solution for this persistent problem. The Ocean Cleanup is an organization founded by Slat that has developed a three-pronged action plan that utilizes technology to help remove plastics from the oceans while preventing more plastic from entering.

The first part of The Ocean Cleanup’s plan is “extraction.” Using a specially designed array of oceanic barriers that concentrates plastic pollution for removal. Slat and his team estimate that this system will be able to remove over half of the plastic debris from the Pacific Garbage Patch over the course of just 10 years. The next phase “prevention,” involves raising awareness for plastic pollution and working towards solutions. The final phase “intervention,” aims to design smaller passive plastic collection units in river deltas and waterways to prevent more plastic from entering the oceans.

20-Year-Old Sets Out to Half the Pacific Garbage Patch in 10 Years...and He Just Might Do It!

 

If all goes according to plan, The Ocean Cleanup plans to launch their pilot project off the coast of Tsushima, Japan in 2016.

“The reason we picked that location is because the current and wave conditions are very favorable for our tests, and there really is a lot of plastic,” Slat told the Red Dirt Report. “The island where we performed the test sees 30,000 cubic meters of trash wash ashore per year.”

20-Year-Old Sets Out to Half the Pacific Garbage Patch in 10 Years...and He Just Might Do It!

 

If this initial project is successful, the team has plans to expand the array over the course of the next five years to cover a stretch of 62 miles of ocean.

This innovative project has the potential to stymie the very real damage that we’ve done to the world’s oceans in the form of plastic pollution. We can all lend a hand to Slat and his team, as well as the world’s many marine species, by cutting plastic out of  our lives whenever possible. To learn more about how you can start, click here.

Good luck, The Ocean Cleanup!

Let’s #CrushPlastic! Click the graphic below for more information.

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All image source: The Ocean Cleanup

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0 comments on “20-Year-Old Sets Out to Half the Pacific Garbage Patch in 10 Years…and He Just Might Do It!”

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Deborah
2 Years Ago

Ouch! Please check your grammar. You should be using "halve" (verb) and not "half" (noun).


Reply
Patti Crabtree
06 Jun 2015

Deborah!!! Who the hell gives a shit!!! DONT you have anything better to do but give lip service on how to spell correctly!?

Kerry Ann Dame
08 Jun 2015

Thanks Deborah - I thought it was wrong too. Media companies need to remember they should exemplify good writing and grammar! No dumb mistakes.

Stephanie
2 Years Ago

Love the work that The Ocean Clean Up is doing. One way to reduce plastics in the environment is for women to switch from conventional disposable sanitary products to reusable ones - healthier body and healthier planet. A start-up social enterprise called Be Girl (www.BeGirl.org) is releasing a high-performance, innovative reusable product to address the sustainability challenges posed by traditional feminine sanitary products in the US. I think this would be a great topic for One Green Planet to cover. Thanks!


Reply
Karin Nelson
2 Years Ago

My question is \'why is a 20 year old doing this and not every nation with ocean coastline ?? \' Governments should be making this a HUGE priority and funding this as well as phasing out plastics


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