The Ocean Cleanup: Boyan Slat’s vision fast becoming a reality

Dutch non-profit organisation, The Ocean Cleanup, is set to test its revolutionary technologies to rid an area of the ocean, now known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, of vast quantities of plastic as soon as next year.

The Ocean Cleanup, under the leadership of 22-year-old Dutch change maker Boyan Slat, has designed systems that float on the surface of an area of the ocean that collects pollution from around the world, and skims plastic off the top layer of water.

An initial idea by Boyan Slat and his team involved one massive device, extending as much as 60 miles. The team has since abandoned that idea in favour of several devices across a smaller area – up to 50 devices of 0.6 miles each.

The Ocean Cleanup envisages a system that lets the ocean currents do the work. An installation of U-shaped screens channels floating plastic to a central point.

According to The Ocean Cleanup, instead of going after plastic debris with vessels and nets – which could take many thousands of years and billions of dollars to complete – The Ocean Cleanup’s network of long floating barriers act like an artificial coastline, enabling the natural ocean currents to concentrate the plastic.

The Ocean Cleanup design involves massive booms that collect trash using the Pacific’s own currents. The booms act as an “artificial coastline” passively catching and then concentrating debris into the centre, from where it’s offloaded to a boat that sweeps by periodically.

Rather than fixing the floating screens to the seabed at great depths, The Ocean Cleanup will apply sea anchors to ensure the floating screens move slower than the plastic.

The collected plastic waste is expected to then be shipped to shore for recycling, where it will be then turned into durable products.

The Ocean Cleanup Foundation will begin testing a 0.6-mile prototype later this year, before full deployment in 2018. Testing of the first system will start off the west coast of America by the end of 2017.

The Ocean Cleanup

Rosalind Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She is a writer who specialises in sustainable life & style, music, entertainments and wellbeing. Rosalind also works as a spiritual life coach and intuitive advisor helping people to become who they truly are and manifest their heart & soul’s desires into their lives: www.rosalindmedea.com

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