Seongyoung Whang /Walnut HS 12th
A non profit organization called Ocean Cleanup launched a massive system meant to remove around 90 percent of the debris found in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is the largest of the 5 plastic offshore plastic accumulation zones in the world’s oceans. This plan was proposed by Boyan Slat, the 24 year old founder and chief executive officer of the organization. This ambitious project attracted many donors, some of which include Salesforce founder Marc Benioff and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, who helped Ocean Cleanup raise more than 30 million dollars to fund it.
According to Ocean Cleanup, approximately 2.5 million tons of plastic enters the ocean each year, and this number will only continue to increase. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is around twice the size of Texas and covers a surface area of 1.6 million square kilometers. After its departure from San Francisco on September 8, this 600 meter long, U-shaped project is slowly making its way to the GPGP.
However, there is controversy surrounding this project, as researchers believe that it can harm the ocean life, while failing to capture most of the microplastics that make up majority of the ocean. Critics are also worried that this project will detract attention from pollution, which is the root of this problem.
It is unclear whether the system itself will pose any harm to the ocean, or if it will have other side effects. However, this project is important because it has increased awareness of the growing amount of plastic trash in the ocean, while offering a possible solution to this problem.
<Seongyoung Whang /Walnut HS 12th