Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Actually, there are two garbage patches in the Pacific Ocean, each a slow swirling vortex of plastic trash the size of Texas. All of the world's oceans have these trash gyres. They exist naturally as a consequence of ocean circulation patterns. Of course, having them loaded up with tons of waste plastic is not natural. It's only there because of us humans. About ten percent of all plastic waste ends up in our oceans.  That amounts to about 7.25 million tons, which in volume is a whole lot...imagine a soup made of plastic bags and styrofoam packing peanuts. Needless to say, that stuff is not good for the health of the fish and other marine animals.


Some have suggested it would take 80,000 years to clean up these monster pelagic blossoms of garbage.  Fortunately, a 19 year old engineering student named Boyan Slat has been thinking a lot about this problem. He believes he knows how to fix it. In fact, young Mr. Slat claims the cleanup can be done in five years and that money can be made in the process.  While Boyan Slat's idea is more conceptual than real at the moment, a serious effort is underway to determine the feasibility of his  vision, which features a series of floating capture stations anchored to the ocean bottom, all connected by specialized booms.that trap the plastic waste.

Want to know more? Go to Boyan Slat's website

Here is a link to the TED presentation with Boyan Slat reflecting on his bold solution for the ocean garbage patches...

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