At this moment, millions of tons of plastic are swirling around in our oceans. Concentrated in five rotating global currents… but certainly not limited to these places. In fact, surface water samples across the globe exhibit a thick “soup” laden with microplastics – partially disintegrated particles that both contain and attract harmful toxins and chemicals. The survival of many marine species are threatened by its presence, including seabirds and those higher up the food chain who nourish themselves with aquatic life. Yep, that might even include you.
Research estimates that it would take 79,000 years to rid our seas of foreign matter. In 2012, a 17-year-old named Boyan Slat proposed a solution that could potentially cut that number to FIVE.
Attaching floating barriers to the sea bed, enabling Slat’s organization, The Ocean Cleanup, to create a plastic cache before collecting it from the ocean – a process 100% driven by wind and currents, while nearly eliminating harm to wildlife and remaining efficient and environmentally sound when compared to alternative methods.
Apparently, the crowd-funding community thinks Boyan’s onto something, too. In September 2014, the Ocean Cleanup raised $2.1 million via a Kickstarter campaign to start their pilot phase.
Now armed with the assistance of over 100 volunteers – comprised mainly of scientists and engineers – Slat is currently involved in the next phase of his cleanup plan, which is creating prototypes of his floating, 100-kilometer-long collectors.
If you’re interested in furthering Boyan’s cause, please donate here. It’s up to all of us to do what we can to keep our oceans clean!
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