Want to know something sad? It isn't possible for us to know how muchplastic waste is in the ocean because you can't count from the surface alone. There is no way of calculating it so we will never know. In fact, no one is even doing anything to clean up these vast amounts of trash because it’s something they believe we will never be able to do- it has gotten so bad that the task is too daunting.
Luckily, there are young minds in this world who don't want to see their oceans become a landfill- like youngBoyan Slat. Boyan is the Dutch teenager (now 20) who proposed a device that could alleviate up to twenty billions tons of plastic debris from the ocean’s surface.
Ever heard of the Rumba? The little robot vacuum that glides around your house? This devise is like a giant Rumba of the sea. Are you picturing it now? Such a simple concept. After further analyzing, he estimated that about $500 million of plastic each year would be saved and recycled. Just like a Rumba, this device is self-sufficient because it is tethered to the seafloor.
A National Geographic's marine ecology team of researchers put together a map of the largest trash deposits. The bulk of the waste seems concentrated through the oceanic currents, the same systems used by migratory fish; who themselves attract birds. The wildlife unaware of the dangers of human wastes are often suffocated and killed by the larger debris, while the smaller ones are often consumed causing high level of toxicity in oceanic wildlife. So our plastic products are actually getting in migratory fish patterns and changing the entire ecosystem.
Although there are still some problems with the devices’ conception, Slat believes there are none that can’t be easily mended. The biggest hurdle he faces is with global cooperation. It requires complex cooperation across countries that currently place the problem very low on their list of priorities. His biggest hope right now would be to find wealthy philanthropists to fund a trial version in order to raise the interest of the diplomats.
Until then, trash will continue to pile up and threaten our entire ecosystem. Be aware of the facts and the efforts to purify our waters- and above all do your part to prevent trash build up in our oceans so that your grandkids can surf the same waves you know and love!