When faced with the facts and figures of marine debris and specifically the pacific garbage patch, it’s easy to feel helpless. While creative programs already exist to combat marine debris, the scope of the issue can feel unsolvable.
Now thanks to new technology developed by Ocean Cleanup, a large-scale solution may be floating on the horizon.
Boyan Slat was just eighteen when he founded Ocean Cleanup from his hometown of Delft in The Netherlands. His idea was to create a floating boom system to capture plastic ocean debris, which could later be recycled. Just five years later, with support from backers like billionaire Marc Benioff, his novel system is undergoing ocean testing.
On September 18, 2018, Slat's team deployed its first floating boom system into San Francisco Bay for a trial run. Slat hopes that this is just the first of many booms that will eventually work together to trap 150,000 pounds of plastic each year between California and the Hawaiian islands.
The idea is that the booms, once deployed, can create an artificial “coastline” where the plastics will "land" and be collected. Since the booms are driven by the wind and waves, they will move faster than the plastic carried by the currents beneath the water, enabling vast amounts of debris to be collected by the system. Slat's goal is to clean up half of the Pacific garbage patch by 2023!
We’ll be eagerly watching for updates from Ocean Clean up, and glad to see creative ideas being brought to defend our marine environment!
Learn more about the project from Forbes, or visit the Ocean Cleanup website for yourself!