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This 19-Year-Old Just Raised .6 Million to Build an Ocean Cleanup Machine with 30-Mile-Long Arms

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The world’s oceans contain millions of tons of trash, much of it collected into vast floating islands of plastic and debris. Even if humanity stopped putting garbage in the water today, researchers project that these garbage patches would continue growing for hundreds of years. One such trash island, known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, already spans hundreds of miles.

How do we get all that garbage out? A 19-year-old Dutch aeronautical engineering student unveiled the results of the feasibillity study, proving that we can likely clean our oceans. He is raising million to build an ocean cleanup contraption he designed to passively funnel garbage to specific collection points.

Slat’s plan, expressed simply, is to deploy several V-shaped floating barriers that would be moored to the seabed and placed in the path of major ocean currents. The 30-mile-long arms of the V are designed to catch buoyant garbage and trash floating three meters below the surface while allowing sea life to pass underneath. “Because no nets would be used, a passive cleanup may well be harmless to the marine ecosystem,” he writes in the feasibly study.

Over time, the trash would flow deeper into the V , from which it would then be extracted. The report estimates that the plastic collection rate would total 65 cubic meters per day and that the trash would have to be picked up by ship every 45 days. Slat hopes to offset costs by recycling the collected plastic for other uses.

Over 82% of the money to build a pilot version is in. The Ocean Cleanup already has more than 30,000 backers who have contributed over .6 million towards the million goal.

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“This 19-Year-Old Just Raised .6 Million to Build an Ocean Cleanup Machine with 30-Mile-Long Arms”