ocean 1

What did you accomplish by the time you were 20 years old? Did you answer, “inspired an entire world to get behind your idea to clean the ocean”?

A Dutch engineering phenom has done just that with his project The Ocean Cleanup. In 2016, he and his team will launch a pilot program that will eventually lead them to tackle the Great Pacific Garbage Patch that lies between Hawaii and California. However, any idea has to start somewhere, and that somewhere will be Japan.

Keep an eye out for the name Boyan Slat and his Ocean Cleanup project, as you might be reading about them many times in the future. His goal: to clean up our oceans. Not a small task by any means, but Slat hopes to achieve it by thinking big. Really big. His proposed plan is a giant floating collector that utilizes ocean currents to help sweep the water for floating plastic.

ocean 6

ocean 1

He hopes to use the massive rotating currents to remove 42 percent of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch over 10 years. That’s a total of 70,320,000 kilograms (77,514.5 tons) of plastic waste. Slat is set to start on a much smaller scale in Japan. In 2016, Slat’s Ocean Cleanup Foundation is planning to launch a 2,000-meter (1.24-mile) pilot system off the coast of Tsushima Island, northeast of Fukuoka Prefecture.

ocean 5

ocean 2

When deployed, this massive trash collector will be the longest floating structure in the world; the current record is held by the Tokyo Mega-Float at 1,000 meters (0.62 miles). It will sit in the water and catch plastic debris for two years. The local government on Tsushima has been seeking innovative and inexpensive solutions to a plastic pollution problem that sees one cubic meter (3.28 cubic feet) of pollution per person washing up each year on their shores.

ocean 4

▼ A mock-up of the full system moving from Hawaii to California

ocean 3

While the project has received some criticism, citing technical problems with the proposed plan (as detailed by Deep Sea News), Slat has welcomed the peer review and hopes to build upon his design so that he can achieve his goal of world plastic garbage cleanup. You can find out more about this ambitious project at The Ocean Cleanup website, Facebook and Twitter. It might not look as exciting as a giant rubber ducky, but if Slat’s foundation can achieve its goals, it will be a better and cleaner future for all of us.

Source: The Ocean Cleanup via Bored Panda
Images: Facebook (The Ocean Cleanup)