20-Year-Old Inventor Announces Colossal Ocean Plastic Cleaning System

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“Taking care of the world’s ocean garbage problem is one of the largest environmental challenges mankind faces today.” said Boyan Slat, 20-year old founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup just before announcing his system (first reported by gCaptain in 2013)  to “passively clean up plastic pollution from the world’s oceans” will be deployed next year. He made the announcement at Asia’s largest technology conference, Seoul Digital Forum, in South-Korea.

Related Book: Plastic Ocean: How a Captain's Chance Discovery Launched a Determined Quest to Save the Oceans by Charles Moore
Related Book: Plastic Ocean: How a Captain’s Chance Discovery Launched a Determined Quest to Save the Oceans by Charles Moore

The array is projected to be deployed in Q2 2016. The feasibility of deployment, off the coast of Tsushima, an island located in the waters between Japan and South-Korea is currently being researched.The system is said to span 2000 meters and, if Slat can pull this off, his invention will become the longest floating structure ever deployed in the ocean, beating the current record of 1000 m held by the Tokyo Mega-Float. Slat hopes the ocean cleaning device will remain afloat for at least two years, catching plastic pollution before it reaches the shores of the proposed deployment location of Tsushima island. 

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 the local government to seek innovative solutions to the problem.

The Ocean Cleanup plastic boom“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.” said Slat. “This deployment may enable us to study the system’s efficiency and durability over time.”

The plan may seem farfetched considering the size of the array and the ocean forces at play but, despite the obvious challenges, Slat has attracted an impressive list of collaborators along with 145,187 facebook friends cheering him on.  

Boyan Slat’s Keynote Address: