Ten years ago, environmentalist and engineer Boyan Slat first heard about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. He was so appalled that he vowed to do whatever it takes to stop the destruction of our seas.
The giant, floating patch of debris lies between California and Hawaii. It’s one of five in the world that formed from microplastics and debris dumped into rivers worldwide.
More than 24 trillion pounds of plastic wind up in the oceans annually. Experts think that this amount will triple by 2040 — unless we take action now.
Boyan’s non-profit The Ocean Clean Up Project has worked tirelessly to clean up waterway pollution for the past 10 years. They’ve had success with their innovative river-cleaning technology, and their newest version of an ocean cleaning device recently went through its first 12-week testing period. The results were better than anyone could have hoped!
This is what 9000kg of ocean plastic looks like inside the retention zone and on deck.— The Ocean Cleanup (@TheOceanCleanup) October 14, 2021
It’s no longer in the ocean, and next week, we’ll bring it to shore so it can’t pose a threat to the environment ever again. pic.twitter.com/Syl5uypND6
They removed 9,000 kilograms — which is almost 20,000 pounds — of garbage from the Pacific!
System002, also called Jenny, is a carbon-neutral system designed to collect even the tiniest microplastic from the sea, all without harming marine wildlife. Two boats drag a long net between them to gather the trash, and it’s then brought onto a barge to be recycled back on shore.
On the last day of Jenny’s 12-week trial, Boyan shared his reaction to the project’s success with four simple words: “Holy mother of god,” he tweeted.
“It’s exactly 10 years ago that I first learned about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” Boyan wrote on Twitter. “Back then, everyone told me there was no hope of ever cleaning it up. They were right then; no method existed to do it. Proud (and relieved!) to say that now there is.”
Boyan hopes to have many more Jennies to work in the coming years. He estimates that 10 Jennies could clean half of the largest garbage patch in just 5 years. The ultimate goal is to have 90% of the garbage patch removed by 2040!
This is one of the most exciting advances in cleaning up pollution in a decade! We’re so glad that this determined scientist and his non-profit have dedicated themselves to this mission. It benefits our world now, and for years into the future!
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