Enviro Monday: New plastic eating devices bring hope for saving our oceans

22-year-old Boyan Slat and his Ocean Cleanup Foundation

The level of plastic in the oceans is an increasingly urgent issue.

Getting rid of the plastic is the aim of The Ocean Cleanup Foundation, a Dutch company founded by 22-year-old inventor Boyan Slat, when he was 17.

Advanced clean-up system is being tested in the North Sea

Slat created a prototype of an advanced clean-up system consisting of a 100 meter-long barrier segment which has been installed in the North Sea, 23 km off the coast of The Netherlands where it will remain for one year.

The long, floating barrier acts as an artificial coastline, passively catching and concentrating ocean debris, powered by the ocean’s natural currents. Because the barriers are at the surface of the ocean, they will be subjected to the most extreme conditions. It is of paramount importance that the barriers are tested in those conditions.

Hopefully deployed in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

The prototype will show how the Ocean Cleanup floating barrier fares in extreme weather at sea – the kind of conditions the system will eventually face when deployed in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

This prototype is the first ocean clean-up system to be tested at sea.

Slat says a successful outcome of the tests should see the first operational pilot system deployed in late 2017. He adds that the Ocean Cleanup Foundation’s system is one of the world’s most promising for cleaning up accumulated trash and plastics from the oceans.

Watch the video

A water drone that eats plastic

While the Ocean Cleanup team is trying to filter the smallest particles of plastic out of the ocean, in the port of Rotterdam a drone able to collect up to 500 kg of trash, called the Waste Shark, has been deployed.

The Waste Shark is a water drone, about the size of a passenger car. The plastic waste that it gobbles up is recycled.



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