Cleaning up our oceans is not an easy task. But as plastic waste continues to litter the waters, one young Dutch entrepreneur isn’t waiting around.
He believes he’s got a solution and is moving forward with a bold initiative. CCTV America’s Mark Niu reports.
Young innovator's develops tech as a solution to clean up oceansCleaning up our oceans is not an easy task. But as plastic waste continues to litter the waters, one young Dutch entrepreneur isn’t waiting around. He believes he’s got a solution and is moving forward with a bold initiative. CCTV America’s Mark Niu reports.
The Dutch foundation, the Ocean Cleanup just completed what it calls the first-ever reconnaissance flight over the Great Pacific Garbage which is a polluted area roughly halfway between Hawaii and California.
The Garbage Patch is a source of debate with some claiming it’s an island of waste and others saying it’s just soupy plastic.
“What we are finding that the truth is somewhere in the middle. So there’s a lot of large stuff, actually the small pieces that people were measuring, that’s just one or two percent of the plastic, actually most of it is still big stuff. Although it is millions of tons, it is spread out over a large area, All the big stuff will become the small dangerous plastics that then end up in the food chain and also ends up with us humans and that will happen over the next few decades, if we don’t clean it up,” Boyan Slat, Founder & CEO of The Ocean Cleanup said.
The man behind the Ocean Cleanup is 22-year-old Dutch inventor Boyan Slat. He actually became a virtual sensation through this TED talk, a nonprofit that spreads ideas through short powerful talks.
In what began as a high school science project, Slat has developed a prototype for a non-permeable screen that acts like an artificial coastline to accumulate waste.
He said currents would pass under the floating 1.5 meter barrier so that sea life and plankton would not get caught.
Slat calculates that using ordinary boats and nets to clean up the Great Pacific Garbage patch, it would take 79,000 years. He believes utilizing his system combined with the ocean currents, they could clean half of it in just ten years.
Slat’s raised around $11 million and regularly visits Silicon Valley to attend conferences like Dreamforce in hopes of gaining more support.
Next year, he plans to take the major step of deploying his first real system of about two kilometers into the Pacific Ocean.