The young man who will clean the ocean

Looking like a giant waterbird, this platform collects tons of plastic trash as it moves through the ocean; photo from The Ocean Cleanup Facebook page

In October 2013 I wrote about Boyan Slat, who had designed a platform he claimed “could remove 7.25 million tons of plastic trash from the oceans in five years and make a profit doing it.” His 2012 TEDxDelft talk was convincing, but the distance between conception and execution sounded like a canyon the size of the Grand.

Fast forward to 2015. A crowdfunding campaign has raised more than $2 million. Tests and feasibility studies have reassured Slat and his team the scheme will work. In 2016 his company, The Ocean Cleanup, will deploy the world’s first ocean cleaning system.

This is a bold, visionary scheme. The company’s site says they expect “to remove half the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 10 years’ time.”

I’m placing my bets on The Ocean Cleanup and will be following them on Facebook and Twitter. And I’m placing my bets on all of us to stop using so much of the plastic that’s poisoning our oceans.

 

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