Boyan Slat was just 17 when he went diving in Greece only to find more plastic bags on the ocean floor than fish. That was when he decided that it’s high time we get to cleaning this mess up.
But given the amount of pollutants that clog the oceans, any plan which is tabled for cleanup is marred by one major issue – the time frame which runs practically from few years to few decades.
But Boyan was not ready to be bogged down by the issue. He decided to drop out of his Aerospace engineering studies to establish the Ocean Cleanup foundation.
He recognized that of the 8 million tons of garbage dumped into the oceans everyyear, most is accumulated at 5 sites or ‘gyres’ where the currents converge. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is one such region. It was estimated that using vessels and nets to collect the plastic from one garbage patch would take about 79,000 years and tens of billions of dollars.
But Boyan and his team asked another question, “Why move around the ocean collecting plastic, if it can move on its own?“.
They created a new technology where with the help of long floating barriers, using the natural movement of the ocean currents to passively concentrate the plastic itself.
This reduced both cost and time consumption of the cleanup project by a huge magnitude. In fact, Boyan says he could cleanup the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in just 10 years.
He has further refined the technology and presented it at various technology meets around the world where he won numerous accolades.
Here’s him speaking at a TEDex talk explaining his idea:
His project has found financial backing through crowd-sourcing and the first boom-filtration mechanism will be deployed along the Pacific coast next year and an offshore set-up will be deployed in 2017.
Meanwhile, Boyan has been recognized as one of the 20 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs Worldwide (Intel EYE50), and is a laureate of the 2014 United Nations Champions of the Earth award.
Here are some concept-arts depicting the models:
Originally posted by Indiatimes