Another young creative mind working towards bettering our world. 19-year-old Boyan Slat has revealed his plans to the world regarding his Ocean Cleanup Array that could remove 7,250,000 tons of plastic waste from the world’s oceans. The revolutionary device consists of an anchored network of floating booms and processing platforms that could be dispatched to garbage patches around the world. Instead of moving through the ocean, the array would span the radius of a garbage patch, acting as a giant funnel. The angle of the booms would force plastic in the direction of the platforms, where it would be separated from plankton, filtered and stored for recycling.
It all began when Boyan Slat launched a project that analyzed the size and amount of plastic particles in the ocean’s garbage patches. He produced a paper of his findings which went on to win several prizes, including Best Technical Design 2012 at the Delft University of Technology. Boyan also had the opportunity to unveil his final concept during a TEDx talk in 2012.
Boyan states “One of the problems with preventive work is that there isn’t any imagery of these ‘garbage patches’, because the debris is dispersed over millions of square kilometres. By placing our arrays however, it will accumulate along the booms, making it suddenly possible to actually visualize the oceanic garbage patches. We need to stress the importance of recycling, and reducing our consumption of plastic packaging.” Wise words from a truly innovative mind. After his impressive invention, Boyan decided to found The Ocean Cleanup Foundation, a non-profit organization responsible for the development of his proposed technologies. If brought into fruition, his solution could save hundreds of thousands of aquatic animals annually, reduce pollutants (including PCB and DDT) from building up in the food chain and even improve human health given the fact harmful plastic has been found in humans after being in the ocean.
Once built, it is estimated that the entire clean-up process would take about five years to complete. Along with clean-up, the new technology can help to raise awareness about the world’s ocean plastic garbage patches and how we must begin to exercise new ways of producing packaging and other products. You can find out more about his project and contribute to the crowd funding campaign by visting his site http://www.boyanslat.com/plastic4/