In 2016, “the longest floating structure in world history” will be placed in the ocean.
It’s called The Ocean Cleanup, and it’s a 1.2-mile-long system designed to collect and remove plastic from the ocean. It is a stationary array of barriers that uses the ocean’s natural currents to collect the plastic at a central location.
The Ocean Cleanup will be deployed near Tsushima, an island between Japan and South Korea, and will collect plastic trash for two years and then all of the plastic that it collects will be used as an alternate energy source.
Every year 8 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean. Right now, about 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic are floating around the ocean.
This plastic pollution causes many environmental, economic, and health problems. For example, plastic kills over 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals every year.
And animals that aren’t killed are often left deformed.
It is estimated that The Ocean Cleanup could remove half the plastic from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in just 10 years.
The person behind The Ocean Cleanup is 20-year-old Dutchman Boyan Slat.
After diving in Greece in 2011, frustrated by coming across more plastic bags than fish, he wondered; ‘why can’t we clean this up?’ This ultimately led to the passive cleanup concept, which he presented in 2012. Instead of going after the plastic, Boyan devised a system though which, driven by the ocean currents, the plastic would concentrate itself, reducing the theoretical cleanup time from millennia to mere years. In 2013, he dropped out of his Aerospace Engineering study to found The Ocean Cleanup.