No one really has any idea what kind of pollution is going on in our oceans today. It is easy to turn a blind eye or pretend that it doesn’t exist, though in certain areas of the world, where plastic bags and bottles are strewn along the shoreline, it’s harder to ignore. It is the kind of issue that leaves you wondering what you can do personally to effect global change. One 19 year old boy came up with a solution. Boyan Slat is a young, 19 year old inventor and he has created something that he says can give us clean oceans globally in only 5 years.
Would you believe something like 20 billion tons of plastic brewing out in the world’s oceans? That’s about right. They even have a name for one big pile of garbage accumulating out there in the Pacific ocean. It’s called the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” and it’s getting worse every year. In fact, over the past 40 years it has multiplied one hundred fold, according to a recent study reported by NBC news in May of 2012. Since then, it’s sure to have grown even more.
Slat’s design includes some floating blooms which would suck all this plastic into it much in the same way as a funnel works. There are plastic processing plants out there in the ocean, though much of the garbage never reaches it. Slat’s blooms would suck all the plastic and then direct it to these processing plants. These plants separate the material, releasing that which is natural and recycling everything else. If his idea works, it is estimated that the world’s oceans could be free of this floating garbage, clean again in as little as only 5 years.
Boyan wrote a paper on his idea in school, which was then recognized and given Best Technical Design in 2012 from the Delft University of Technology. Since his award, Boyan Slat started a non-profit organization to work on the project and get it going, called The Ocean Clean-up Foundation. His idea is ocean and solar powered and would save many fish and other aquatic species who are threatened by the current condition of the oceans. His foundation will raise money and work on the actual immediate implementation of the project so the oceans can start cleaning up as soon as possible.
Much of the oxygen we breathe on the planet comes from the marine phytoplankton, more than from all the forests on the earth. If the oceans suffer, we do. This new technology created by a 19 year old who cares could clean our oceans globally in only 5 years. For more information on this evolutionary technology and to contribute to the project visit Boyan’s website. For something as dismal as environmental clean-up, Boyan makes it sound not only simple, but doable in a short period of time. These are the kind of solutions we need and fast. They always said the children would lead us. Perhaps it is time to take the ideas of our youth more seriously and open ourselves up to the possibility that we are just around the corner from total global solutions. Thanks kids!
Written by: Stasia Bliss