A couple of years ago, in 2013, it was widely reported that a device had been invented that would eliminate some 7,250, 000 tonnes of plastic detritus from the ocean in only 5 years. The system was invented by a 19 year old called Boyan Slat. (Ton vs. tonne. In American English, a ton is a unit of measurement equaling 2,000 pounds. In non-U.S. measurements, a ton equals 2,240 pounds. A tonne, also known as a metric ton, is a unit of mass equaling 1,000 kilograms.)
Boyan Slat is a Dutch inventor, environmentalist and aerospace engineering student who works on methods of cleaning plastic waste from the oceans. He designed a passive system for concentrating and catching plastic debris driven by ocean currents. This won a prize for Best Technical Design at Delft University of Technology and he has established a foundation — The Ocean Cleanup — to further develop and eventually implement the technology. Initially, there was little interest but, since his TEDx talk, How the Oceans can Clean Themselves, went viral, he has attracted thousands of volunteers and $2M of funding for pilot installations. In November 2014, he won the Champions of the Earth award of the United Nations Environment Programme. (Wikipedia)
Now 20 and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup Project, Boyan announced not long ago, at the Seoul Digital Forum, that his project will see the light of day in 2016. According to The Ocean Cleanup website, the feasibility of deployment off the coast of Tsushima, an island located in the waters between Japan and South Korea is currently being researched.
“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.” Boyan Slat
The system will span 2000 meters, thereby becoming the longest floating structure ever deployed in the ocean (beating the current record of 1000 m held by the Tokyo Mega-Float). It will be operational for at least two years, catching plastic pollution before it reaches the shores of the proposed deployment location of Tsushima Island, located between Japan and South Korea. Tsushima Island is evaluating whether the plastic can be used as an alternative energy source.
The scale of the plastic pollution problem, whereby in the case of Tsushima Island approximately one cubic meter of pollution per person is washed up each year, has led the Japanese local government to seek innovative solutions to the problem.
This marvellous project is a perfect demonstration that CHANGE IS POSSIBLE. With energy and determination we can achieve what at low moments may seem impossible.