What to do with plastic waste is one of the biggest worldwide problems. Almost everything we buy at the supermarket is contained in plastic wraps which, in general, last only a few minutes in our hands. Its impact is evident and worrying when residues begin to be noticed in natural environments.
Boyan Slat is a Dutchman who at the age of 16, while on holiday in Greece had an unpleasant surprise. Diving in the Aegean Sea, he found more plastic bags than marine fauna. Without wasting time, he decided to do something to reduce the crisis of ocean plastic.
Slat studied the problem while he was still in high school. At university, he began to study Aerospace Engineering in Delft, the Netherlands. Soon thereafter, he put his studies aside to devote all his time to develop a project dedicated to cleaning the oceans. In 2013, he founded The Ocean Cleanup, a non-profit organization that aims to develop technology to remove plastics from the sea. His proposal consists of a “passive” and large-scale system that allows the removal of solid waste from oceanic patches in a range of 1 to 2 kilometers.
The organization estimates that, if the project is implemented on a larger scale, 50% of the Pacific litter could be cleaned in five years. Slat suggests starting now, while plastic is still in larger forms before it starts breaking down into dangerous microscopic particles.
The Ocean Cleanup argues that if we combine the cleaning up process of the oceans with the reduction of plastic use, we could have oceans free of plastics by the year 2050. Shall we start now?
Photo: The Ocean Cleanup