After a year of research and working with a team of around 100 people, Boyan Slat gave his long-anticipated sequel to his 2012 TEDx Talk in New York to present the results of his plan to solve the oceans plastic pollution problem.
For many years, humans have decided that it was a good idea to dump or allow the trash from our daily lives to float out into the ocean. Since much of our oxygen and life sustaining cycles start with the health of the ocean it has become a problem that we must address in order to preserve ourselves and future generations.
The Problem with Plastic Pollution.
Millions of tons of plastic have entered the oceans (UNEP 2005)
Plastic concentrates in five rotating currents, called gyres (Maximenko et al., 2012)
In these gyres, there is on average six times more plastic than zooplankton by dry weight (Moore et al., 2001)
8 million tons of plastic is introducing into our life-giving ocean every single year. Jambeck et al., 2015) Much of this plastic is carried by ocean currents and has been accumulating in 5 major areas.
Around 5.25 trillion plastic pieces are floating around in our oceans. (Eriksen et al., 2014) One Third of the plastic is concentrated in what has been named the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. (Cózar et al., 2014)
That means that in the middle of the ocean there is a floating island of trash. If we don’t do something soon, such as this clean up system then there will continue to be consequences.
100 thousand marine mammals and 1 million seabirds die every single year because of the plastic pollution. (Laist, 1997) The longer term survival of at least 100 different species of animal including the Loggerhead Turtle and Hawaiian Monk Soal depends on our ability to clean up the ocean plastic. (Gall et al., 2015)(Derraik, 2002).
The plastic is also threatening various natural ecosystem and is carrying harmful and invasive species. (Barnes, 2005)
In our world, the plastic pollution is causing around $13 billion of damage every year to the fishing, shipping, tourism and local clean up industries. (UNEP 2014) The US West Coast is spending around $500 million every year just to clean up the beaches. To clean up the beaches, it costs anywhere from $1,500 to $25,000 per ton of trash. (APEC 2009)
PCB and DDT are toxic chemicals that are absorbed and concentrated around a million times in the oceans plastic. (Mato et al., 2001) Unfortunately, the plastic and toxins are eaten by the wildlife and causing fish and other sea animals to become toxic and sick. (Tanaka et al., 2013) Even the fish we eat could easily be poisoned which will increase our person risk of malformation, impaired reproductive systems, and cancer. (Takada, oceanhealthindex.org).