As part of a school, 19 year old Boyan Slat looked at the size and amount of plastic particles in the ocean’s garbage patches.

This lead him to the discovery of an ingenius way to use the ocean currents to remove 7,250,000 tons of plastic waste from the world’s oceans.

The invention consists of an anchored network of floating booms and processing platforms that could be dispatched to garbage patches around the world. Instead of moving through the ocean, the array would span the radius of a garbage patch, acting as a giant funnel. The angle of the booms would force plastic in the direction of the platforms, where it would be separated from plankton, filtered and stored for recycling.

It is estimated that the clean-up process would take about five years, and it could greatly increase awareness about the world’s plastic garbage patches, which could potentially save hundreds of thousands of aquatic animals annually, and reduce pollutants (including PCB and DDT) from building up in our food chain. It could also save millions per year, both in clean-up costs, lost tourism and damage to marine vessels.

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