Plastic is everywhere. Soda bottles, shopping bags, TVs, mobile devices and many more items commonly found in most homes are made from plastic. Then we have packaging. I think the packaging for my iPod contained more plastic than the device itself did. Community efforts at recycling are trying to make a dent in plastic waste, but not every place insists on recycling, and plenty of people are too lazy to be bothered.
Inevitably, some plastic makes its way to water. It bobs along rivers and streams, which eventually dump out into the ocean. New plastic reefs are being formed in the oceans from thousands of bits of plastic rubbish. The Ocean Cleanup project offers a way to reduce the trash with minimal negative environmental impact.
The project is the brainchild of Boyon Slat, an engineering student at Deflt University of Technology. His idea is to build booms to skim plastic from the oceans, using wind, waves and sun as energy sources. The booms and collection units would be bolted to the sea floor in strategic locations to keep them in place, allowing the garbage to, in effect, come to them, rather than wasting resources on chasing it around.
By using booms instead of nets, the project should result in less accidental catches of sea life, potentially allowing even the smallest life to move around the collectors, rather than being caught up in them. Captured plastic could then be recycled and sold, with the idea that these sales would eventually pay for the project.
Below you’ll find Slat’s TED presentation.
Source: The Ocean Cleanup