These garbage patches won’t go away by themselves. Even if we were to close the tap today the plastic would still be there in 100 years.

Greece is known for azure waters seamlessly merging landscape with sky but whilst diving, Boyan Slat was shocked to discover plastic after plastic lining the ocean floor. Upon returning home to the Netherlands, Slat decided to research ocean pollution extensively, partially for a high school project and partially due to his own concern.

Again, shocked at the findings, he realised action against ocean pollution was necessary considering more than five trillion pieces of plastic litter the ocean. The trash accumulates in patches, with the largest being the infamous Great Pacific Garbage Patch, located between California and Hawaii – and twice the size of Texas!

So, after some brainstorming, Slat founded the non-profit organisation The Ocean Cleanup; he devised a system which uses the currents of the ocean to its benefit by catching and concentrating the trash into one collectable pile. “These garbage patches won’t go away by themselves. Even if we were to close the tap today the plastic would still be there in 100 years.” Slat said.

The goal of his company is to rid the ocean of 50% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch every five years. Through research Slat realised the majority of plastic in the ocean is large pieces of debris so his company focuses on the removal of that as to avoid the debris from becoming micro-plastic.

“…92% of plastic will be turned into microplastics…” Slat says. “So, the sooner we get it out, the better.”

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