Success for invention tackling the Pacific Garbage Patch

Posted by Rachael Funnell on November 14, 2019

Discover how one man’s invention is helping to clean up our oceans

In 2012, Dutch inventor Boyan Slat announced plans to start working on a piece of machinery which would remove waste from the Pacific Garbage Patch. The Patch, which was first discovered to worldwide horror in 1997 by Charles Moore, is two bodies of marine debris in the North Pacific Ocean connected by the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. The nature of this ocean system has meant that floating debris blown off coastlines, lost at sea and dumped in the ocean has collected in two bodies, gathering weight and width with each passing year. Current estimates put the collective patches at 1.6 million km in width.

Slat’s invention was modeled on a line of cork floats which suspend a net that drags below beneath the water. The benefit of its design is that it doesn’t require any power to function, instead using the natural movement of the ocean to work it’s way through the patch just as the floating debris does. In a recent video statement, Slat said, “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, thereby confirming the most important principle behind the ocean cleanup system.”

The breakthrough comes at a pressing time when levels of plastic waste entering our oceans is at an all time high, with recent Government estimations suggesting that as much as 150 million tonnes of plastic waste enter our seas every year, devastating marine life and ocean bird colonies.

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