Getting Rid of Plastic in the Oceans

Margherita Olivo
June 27th 2016

The level of plastic in the oceans lately became an urgent topic. Getting rid of it is the aim of The Ocean Cleanup Foundation, a dutch company founded by 21-year-old inventor Boyan Slat four years ago, when he was 17. He created a prototype of an advanced clean-up system which will be installed in the North Sea approximately 12 nautical miles off the Dutch coast, where it will remain for a full year for a performance tests. This prototype is the first ocean cleanup system even tested at sea.

The project consists of a 100 meter-long floating barrier segment which will act as an artificial coastline that takes advantage of the ocean natural currents to passively grab and collect ocean waste. Sensors placed on the barrier will track every motion of the prototype to enable engineers to develop a fully resistant system able to endure severe sea conditions.

“This is a historic day on the path toward clean oceans” said Slat. “A successful outcome of this test should put us on track to deploy the first operational pilot system in late 2017. I estimate there is a 30% chance the system will break, but either way it will be a good test”. Nevertheless, at the moment the Ocean Cleanup Foundation’s system is one of the world’s most promising bet for cleaning up accumulated trash and plastics from the oceans, if this is even possible. The team hopes to have a full version of the system in place in the Pacific Ocean by 2020. The goal is to have a fully operational device in four years, and for now this seems to be our best option for saving a crucial ecosystem that we're extremely damaging and destroying.

Source: Ocean Cleanup Foundation

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