22-Year-Old Boyan Slat Has Invented Something To Save Earth’s Oceans (and Us)
Hundreds if not thousands of volunteers work everyday to remove plastic and other garbage from shores and bay areas around the world. In terms of surface area, there is approximately 1.4 million square miles of garbage on or near the surfaces and shores of global oceans. That’s more than 5 times the surface area of the entire state of Texas.
Fortunately, Boyan Slat is now the founder and CEO of a foundation that may have the ability to drastically and meaningfully start cleaning this garbage up. The 22-year-old Slat began “The Ocean Cleanup” when he was only 17: “Big problems require big solutions.” Ironically, Slat dropped out of his aerospace engineering program at school in order to pursue his noble goals: “There is this notion that is quite popular in the environmental scene that every little bit helps, or ‘Think global, act local.’ I disagree with that. I think you have to start with how big the solution needs to be to solve the problem and then reason backward from there.”
Instead of trying to clean up acres and acres of garbage with nets and boats, Slat intends to use floating rubber barriers with underwater nets to build massive artificial coastlines; structures that naturally attract and capture garbage. Predictable ocean currents will filter garbage to these artificial coastlines, and once taken out of the water much of the plastic will actually be sold and recycled: “When I started, I thought I would likely fail, and I still might, but considering the scale of the problem, it was important to at least try.”
Slat believes that his invention will be able to remove 7,250,000 tonnes of plastic and garbage in merely 5 years, and this is all set to begin in early 2018. Another outstanding aspect of his invention is that the natural ocean currents will float under the booms, which will prevent sea life from being ensnared in the nets, and which will also ensure that primarily plastic will be captured.
Slat argues that, “Taking care of the world’s ocean garbage problem is one of the largest environmental challenges mankind faces today. Not only will this first cleanup array contribute to cleaner waters and coasts but it simultaneously is an essential step towards our goal of cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This deployment will enable us to study the system’s efficiency and durability over time.”
The 23-year old on a mission to solve the world's plastic problem.(Via BBC Three)
Posted by BBC Earth on Monday, June 26, 2017
What’s more, Slat believes that virtually all oceanic pollution can be cleaned up by the year 2050. However, as the global population continues to grow faster, the only way to solve these issues over the long run is to alter the human tendency to over-consume, waste, and pollute. Manufacturers must continue to utilize sustainable packaging and resources, and to sell products in bulk and with minimal packaging whenever possible. It is now imperative that every human being on Earth lives in ways that will not jeopardize the future of humanity as a whole.
The time has come to stop blaming China and major corporations; each individual human must take responsibility for their own habits of consumption and pollution, and ensure that they are not taking more than their fair share of unsustainable or non-replenish-able resources: Ocean Cleanup “can be a symbol of how we can use technology and high-risk/high-reward projects to solve these big world challenges we’re going to face in the next few decades.”