Boyan Slat, a nineteen-year-old engineering student has been focusing on a problem that has plagued the world for decades now; ocean pollution. It is estimated that one third of the global ocean surface is covered in plastic pollution. Therefor there must be a solution. Slat, together with a team of fifty engineers, modellers and external experts have proposed that solution with the Ocean Cleanup Array Project.

The project is still in the investigative stage (they are 1/4 through completing the study) however is proving to be an adequate response. It will work by having:

An anchored network of floating booms and processing platforms will span the radius of gyres. 

There are currently five gyres floating around the ocean’s surface with the movement of currents creating an accumulative mass of plastic. The booms will:

act as giant ‘funnels’, where an angle of the booms create a component of the surface current force in the direction of the platforms. The debris then enters the platforms, where it will be filtered out of the water, and eventually stored in containers until collected for recycling on land.

The use of booms as an alternative to netting will ensure only the smallest particles are extracted and no by-catch such as marine life. It is believed (though no hypothesis has been tested) that even planktonic particles will escape capturing as they will move with the water under the booms.

The Array will be self supportive, using energy from the sun, currents and waves. It is proposed that the plastic captured will be sold to offset the costs of construction and implementation.

You can watch Boyan’s TED Talk here.