Boyan Slat is a 21 year old student of aerospace engineering who has devised a large scale plan to clean up the oceans. The Netherlands (his place of birth) will be the first place of testing for the Ocean Cleanup’s project.
As the name suggests, Ocean Cleanup (founded by Slat) is driven by the core intention of protecting and preserving the sea. Thier methods are particularly interesting, reversing the current methods of waste collection so that no ships are required to go out to sea. If the technology works as intended, floating barriers will collect plastic waste using the currents of the ocean, whilst marine life can freely swim underneath this net-free design. The device uses a conveyor belt 7,900 times faster than methods used at present, for just 3% of the cost.
To ensure the durability and effectiveness of the design, a 100 meter barrier will be deployed 23 kilometers off the coast of the Netherlands. Although the contraption has been subject to ‘extensive computer
modeling’ and ‘scale model testing’, this will be the first ‘real-life’ test. The main focus of the testing in the North Sea will be to monitor the motions of the ocean, paying particular attention to the natural waves and currents with the use of cameras and sensors.
If all goes to plan, the project will move on to the next stage where a 6,560 ft barrier will be deployed in waters between Japan and South Korea, near the islands of Tsushima. This floating device will spend two years in the water, passively collecting garbage before it reaches the island where it will be deployed. Currently, Tsushima gets an astounding 35 cubic feet of ocean waste per each of the 34,000 residents on the island.
Eventually, Ocean Cleanup hopes to implement a 62-mile-long system, floating somewhere between California and Hawaii. Their intention is to tackle the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a gyre made up of millions of tons of plastic debris. Such action is in dire need, with approximately 8 million tons of waste being dumped into the oceans every year. The test will be launched in the second quarter of 2016.
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