Seven years since Boyan Slat hatched a plan on a TEDx stage to clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the effort seems to have paid off. According to the reports of the non-profit organisation Ocean Cleanup, one boat was able to retrieve various wastes, such as rubber, plastic, nets. This is just the beginning and all this waste will be recycled.
"We are now catching plastics,” Slat said. “After beginning this journey seven years ago, this first year of testing in the unforgivable environment of the high seas strongly indicates that our vision is attainable and that the beginning of our mission to rid the ocean of plastic garbage, which has accumulated for decades, is within our sights.
“We now have a self-contained system in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch that is using the natural forces of the ocean to passively catch and concentrate plastics,” he added. “This now gives us sufficient confidence in the general concept to keep going on this project.”
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a soupy concoction of plastic debris that formed in a convergence point for gyres, or massive ocean currents, in the Pacific Ocean. The patch covers a swath of water three times the size of France and it’s become emblematic of the larger crisis of plastic pollution affecting the ocean. Each year, an estimated 8 to 12 million tons of plastic enter marine environments, and there are more than 5 trillion pieces of micro-plastic in the ocean.