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Back in 2013, we reported on the story of 19-year-old Boyan Slat, who had developed a device with the capacity to remove 7,250,000 tonnes of plastic and garbage from the world’s oceans in just five years. Originally set to deploy in 2016, the device still had numerous rounds of testing to complete, but testing is finally done, and we can expect to see this device hit the Pacific early next year.

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This device consists of an anchored network of floating booms and processing platforms that can be sent to garbage patches around the world. Instead of using boats and nets, the Ocean Cleanup uses long floating barriers that harness the natural movement and energy of the ocean itself. In this way, only the plastic itself will be focused on. The current will float under the booms, taking away all sea life and preventing by-catch. The plastic will collect in front of the floating barrier and then be filtered and stored for recycling.

“Taking care of the world’s ocean garbage problem is one of the largest environmental challenges mankind faces today. Not only will this first cleanup array contribute to cleaner waters and coasts but it simultaneously is an essential step towards our goal of cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This deployment will enable us to study the system’s efficiency and durability over time.”

– Boyan Slat

The project estimates they can rid the oceans of plastic pollution completely by 2050, but it is important to realize that this will not be possible if we keep consuming and producing as much plastic as we have been. We have to drastically change our habits if we want to see this device truly have any sort of success.

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There are so many alternatives to plastic out there, and luckily, as awareness increases, more and more manufacturers are opting to make more sustainable packaging for the products, and the more you choose products that don’t come wrapped in plastic, the less this plastic trash will be produced in the first place. Buying in bulk, using reusable bags and water bottles, and making your own personal care and cleaning products are just a few ways that you can drastically cut back the amount of plastic you are producing on a regular basis. To learn more check out 10 Smart Hacks To Cut Plastic Packaging From Your Life.

No one likes to see the pollution in our oceans. Intuitively we know that this is not good, but it largely goes unnoticed because it is kept out of sight, and therefore out of mind. We have to take responsibility for our actions, because as the consumers we have a say in creating the type of world that we want. It’s time we realized that and stepped fully into our power. We can make a difference!

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