A New Solution To Cleaning Our Oceans....Get Them To Clean Themselves! Featured

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It may shock you to know that far out in the Pacific Ocean, in an area once known as the doldrums, mankind has created a new kind of monument to modern society. Known as 'The Great Garbage Patch', this huge marine soup floats across an expanse that is said to be twice the size of France, and it's main ingredient is plastic. For years scientists have been labouring over a solution to clean up the world's largest pond, but would have thought it would take just one 19-year old boy to solve the problem?

 
 
Boyan Slat, an engineering student from Delft, Holland, has caught the attention of a number of marine experts and environmentalists, after he proposed a design for a school newspaper which blew his tutors away. Just a few years later, the teenager's dream, the 'Ocean Cleanup Array', seems to be coming to fruition.
 
 
The design, which looks similar to the anatomy of a Manta Ray, is made up of a series of floating boons and processing platforms. The concept is that the boons are designed to capture and collect a huge amount of plastic, whilst also avoiding any damage to the surrounding aquatic organisms. The machine is ‘completely self-supportive’, as the teenager claims, because it uses wind and solar power to generate it’s own energy. Not only this, but Mr Slat claims that the machine will generate millions from the recycling of wastage plastic.
 
 
What makes this machine so special is that there will be absolutely no damaging net pollution to marine life. The filter method will work through using the current’s natural drive, so that aquatic species such as fish or plankton will pass through unscathed. The ocean will be cleaning itself as it moves through the expansive, floating boons.
 
 
Mr Slat seems confident. He believes that his invention will actually be able to generate up to $500 million from the recycling of the captured plastic, and will therefore make up for the cost of construction. Mr Slat even claims that the machine has the capacity to clean up 20 billion tones of plastic in just five years - which may, or may not, be a little over-optimistic.
 
Nonetheless, Mr Slat most certainly seems to be on the right track. For too long human beings have relied on the ability to produce disposable plastic items without regard towards, or management of, their wastage. As scientists have frequently warned, and as Mr Slat affirms, the Pacific is in a state of urgency. The damage may not be localized into a visual heap, as of yet, but the density of plastic within our seas is building, whilst aquatic ecosystems are becoming tarnished.
 
The 19-year-old is now raising his own army, officially known as The Ocean Cleanup Foundation, in order to create funding for his invention. Further to this, he may perhaps be a shining beacon of hope for a new generation of eco-warriors, set to elicit a change and keep clean our oceans forever.
 
Stephanie Skarbek

I'm in my second year studying English Literature and Language at Leeds. In my spare time, which I never seem to have a lot of, I like to draw, play the drums and watch Korean films. I also write short stories, and spend my time investing in comic books and cheap clothing on ebay!

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