Say goodbye to plastic pollution


Gavynne Adame, Staff Writer

The world is made up of 71% of water and 96.5% of it is in the ocean. A young man named Boyan Slat and his associates invented the most incredible invention that will help our society now and in the future. Mr. Slat and his associates have found a way to clean up plastic pollution in the ocean which is a major gateway to a more cleaner and healthier planet. He plans to clean up the five major garbage patches around the world safely without damaging the ecosystem.

Mr. Slat plans to get rid of the plastic in the ocean by using the technology his team and himself has built, this is what his invention looks like.

This picture is from a bird’s eye view of how it can clean up the ocean, as you can tell the white dots on the inside of the V-shape are all plastic. The orange line is a “hard walled-pipe made from a high density polyethylene (HDPE)” which is a highly durable and recyclable material. The orange line is attached to a solid screen that can catch the plastic as well as concentrate it, “The pipe is flexible enough to follow the waves and rigid enough to maintain it’ open U-shape”. On the other side of the solid screen it is an anchor and if it goes down deep enough, the water currents will slow down. If they put the anchor “at an average depth of 600 meters, we can sufficiently slow down the system to let it move slower than the plastic, thus capturing the plastic”. To adjust the anchor’s depth they will add ballast so it can face different types of conditions and situations in the water.

My favourite part about this invention is the solid screen that captures the sub-surface debris because it can let sea life safely pass under the screen with the current so it won’t get caught in the screen. Apparently the screen will be able to catch any trash ranging from “1 cm plastic particles up to discarded fishing nets up to several meters high”, For now the screen will be made out of fiber-reinforced thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) which will be able to last in sea for decades. After it catches the plastic it will bring it to the buffer which contains all the debris a vessel will come and take all the plastic to return it to land and either process it, recycle it, or resell it, which I think is a great idea because it is represents the three R’s very well reduce, reuse, recycle.

Boyan Slat came up with this amazing idea when he was scuba diving with a friend in Greece and he discovered there were more plastic bags then there were fish, which made him realize that no one was trying to solve the problem. The plastic pollution researchers believed that they should focus more on prevention of plastic pollution through education rather than trying to clean up the debris. Luckily for his high school science project he got to do fundamental research regarding plastic pollution which led to the idea that he could find a way to reduce the plastic pollution in the ocean.

It has been five years since Boyan Slat thought of this invention to reduce plastic pollution, and now in 2018 they will have their first cleanup system starting in the pacific ocean and if it goes well they will in 2020 they will expand their clean up to the other four areas wasted with garbage.

You can watch his ted talk from 2012 here

And hopefully you will checkout the ocean clean up website for more information