By now, you have heard of Boyan Slat and his Ocean Cleanup project. After years of research and development, Slat’s giant ocean cleaner weighed anchor on September 8. “After five years of research, engineering, and testing, we launched the world’s first ocean cleanup system from San Francisco Bay, marking the start of the cleanup,” the Ocean Cleanup announced at the time. “The system is now on its way to an intermediary test stop, 250-350 nautical miles offshore for a 2-week trial before continuing its journey toward the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, 1,200 nautical miles offshore, to start the cleanup.”
Then, just over a month later, System 001 reached its destination. System 001 is massive. Measuring in at nearly 2,000 feet long, it works as a sort of funnel to collect the enormous amounts of floating trash we’ve thrown into the ocean. If all goes well, this will be the first of many. The plan is simple: tug the systems out to the centers of the five major ocean gyres and let them drift with the same currents that caused all that plastic to end up there in the first place. It is by far the largest cleanup campaign in history, and although it has its fair share of doubters, doing something is far better than doing nothing. Above is a 45 minute documentary about the Ocean Cleanup Project and Boyan Slat, the visionary behind the idea so crazy it just might work. Oh, and if you don’t speak Dutch, just click the closed caption button for subtitles.
Here’s a quick video about how the technology works: