The Ocean Cleanup: Integrating the Future Of Technology To Save The Future Of The Oceans

The Ocean Cleanup: Integrating the Future Of Technology To Save The Future Of The Oceans

Every year, 12 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the ocean. This is the equivalent of one full rubbish truck every single minute of the day. Eventually, this plastic makes its way to the animals of the ocean and plastic pollution leads to the death of millions of marine wildlife every year. Some of these wonderful critters get caught in plastic wrappers or containers, which inhibit their movement and causes their death. Others, end up eating the plastic thinking it’s food. According to Marine Pollution Bulletin, cetaceans ingest plastic debris at a rate as high as 31 percent and 22 percent of these animals are at an increased risk of death. Not only is the marine wildlife compromised by plastic, but the toxic pollutants also make its way up the food chain to humans. Because of these terrifying statistics and alarming information, the Ocean Cleanup was started to help protect our environment and preserve every living creature in it.

Boylan Slat’s Story

Ocean Cleanup was started in 2013 by a young boy named Boylan Slat. Slat was born in the Netherlands and has been doing engineering projects since he was two years old. He even set the Guinness World record for launching water rockets at the young age of 14. However, at the age of 16, young Slat went diving in Greece and found more plastic in the water than fish. This outraged him, and he decided to investigate ocean plastic pollution. Through his research, he found out how hard it is to clean up the plastic that had already been dumped in the ocean. Therefore, Slat developed a passive system that used circulating ocean currents to help clean up the ocean. A year later, he presented this system at a TEDx talk in 2012. This talk went viral and Slat ultimately decided to start the Ocean Cleanup to turn his ideas into a reality.

The Ocean Cleanup mission

Boylan Slat said, “for society to progress, we should not only move forward but also clean up after ourselves”. Therefore, the Ocean Cleanup is utilizing advanced technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic. They’re integrating the future of technology to help the future of the oceans. The organization has found that the plastic trash in the oceans accumulates in five ocean garbage patches, with the largest one being the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Once the plastic reaches these areas, they will no longer go away on their own. So, using Slat’s model, Ocean Cleanup developed a passive system that utilizes the currents to collect plastic debris and send it to a collection system. These systems are set to deploy in mid-2018 and is expected to remove half of the Great Pacific Garden Patch in five years.  

How Ocean Cleanup is funded

The Ocean Cleanup is able to raise the funds needed to run their program through like-minded individuals and organizations. They receive grants, donations, and sponsorships from philanthropic, government, and commercial entities. Since Ocean Cleanup started, the organization has raised $31.5 million USD in donations from entrepreneurs in Europe and Silicon Valley. Not only are organizations helping financially, but some are even collaborating with Ocean Cleanup to help advance their technologies and clean up the waters.

Ocean Cleanup’s mission is near and dear to many people’s hearts. Our oceans hold many unique creatures and amazing wonders. It is up to us to protect this environment and preserve it so that the children of the future can also come to learn, love, and grow.

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