A Cleaner Ocean Begins in 2016 Thanks To Determined Youth

From: www.theoceancleanup.com - The world's first ocean cleaning system is being deployed in 2016.

From: www.theoceancleanup.com – The world’s first ocean cleaning system is being deployed in 2016.

You might remember some news floating around the internet back in 2013 when a 19 year old developed an ocean clean up system.

This was an incredible achievement as there are literally millions of tons of plastic swirling in the ocean and mangling the eco-systems within.

Usually when you see those types of stories go by on your newsfeed you think “that’s awesome” you “like” it and then never really hear about it again.

Well we have brilliant news.

World’s first ocean cleaning system is being deployed in 2016

When a person tosses a plastic bottle into the ocean, it floats away and is so minuscule in scale that it’s forgotten.

When millions of people, and corporations, and governments, over years keep doing this… it adds up to over 7.5 million estimated tons of plastic floating around the ocean.

Worse, because of ocean currents the plastics start to move in circles, they gather over time becoming huge garbage entities known as gyres.

The largest is known as “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch”

This image shows the 5 major floating garbage patches, including the largest plastic island known as the north pacific gyre.

From Wikipedia: This image shows the 5 major floating garbage patches, including the largest plastic island known as the north pacific gyre.

These gyres present an incredible problem and the key to a solution.

The problem with massive amounts of refuse floating in giant formations is these garbage patches become poisonous to the eco-system and toxify the food supply chain.

They are massive million ton concentrations of toxic chemicals leaching into the ocean, being absorbed by plant and animal life and eventually by humans as well.

Don’t Move Through The Ocean, Let The Ocean Move Through You

The trick key to the solution to these massive garbage patches was identified by an 18 year old at the time. The young man Boyan Slat gave a Ted Talk where he let us in on his plan for using a passive flotation device that worked with the ocean’s current. At the age of 19 he actually found the plan to be feasible.

The device… is actually an array. It’s a network of anchored floating booms and processing platforms floating in the ocean.

These diagrams show the ocean current moving through the barriers, the current ushering marine life below and the scalability of the array able to cover huge portions of the ocean cleanup problem.

Diagrams from: www.theoceancleanup.com

Ocean currents will naturally pull sea life below the flotation devices while lighter than water plastics will float into the barriers. The barriers are positioned to create a sort of ‘funneling’ system forcing the plastics to accumulate while ocean plankton is filtered.

The preservation of plankton by the way, is critical because it accounts for between 50 and 85 percent of the Earth’s atmospheric oxygen.

A Cleaner Ocean In Your Lifetime

While implementing these flotation devices in the worlds garbage patches will still take decades to clear the floating plastic patches from the ocean, it’s better than the alternative.

Clearing the plastic with boats and nets would have taken 70,000 years to accomplish. An estimate of course, but daunting none the less.

The current estimates are a single 100 km cleanup array cleaning 42% of the ocean plastic in as little as 10 years. With the first array being launched off the coast of Japan in 2016 – we can start the clock on a cleaner ocean, very soon.

Check out this video from “TheOceanCleanup” that shows the problem, and the road to the solution.

 

It’s truly inspiring to see a group of extremely intelligent young people that do not falter at being told what they cannot accomplish, what will not work.

Instead they prove that solutions to even the most gargantuan of tasks are within the grasp of the determined.

Visit www.theoceancleanup.com for more, or to donate.

(Source 1, Source 2, Source 3)