As a society, we have so many trivial issues that could easily be resolved if the majority of the population that exercised basic humanitarianism decided to stand up against the unjust actions of the minority/those in power. A more complex concern for the masses to be genuinely fixated on, comes in the form of climate change. Literally, we can’t sustain the planet we live on if we continue to do detrimental damage to our environment without reversing the effects and harmful composites and habits we’ve developed over time. Which is why we have initiatives like Ocean Cleanup here to begin the shift in environmental awareness, sustainability, and enterprise to regulate the effects we as a world-nation have inflicted on our Earth.

Even though we as humans do not inhabit the ocean, these bodies of water play an integral part in how the climate is directly affected. For instance, nearly 100,000 marine animals are killed from entanglement or ingesting man-made compounds like paper, plastic, and styrofoam which effects our seafood intake. It is believed that 46,000 pieces of waste can be found in every square mile of the ocean and in combination with the natural current of the oceans, large island-esque bodies of accumulated waste make the ocean uninhabitable for marine life.

With the oceans becoming warmer and littered with the waste we’ve created, we can expect more mass floods and extreme weather conditions to become imminent unless we collectively take accountability for our actions and work to correct the mistakes we made.

Fortunately, a foundation founded by Boyan Slat in 2013 simply entitled, The Ocean Cleanup, housed in Delft, Netherlands, has been developing ocean cleansing technology that will tackle one of the largest floating bodies of plastic in the Pacific Ocean called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. 

The Ocean Cleanup has designed a Pac-Man shaped ocean cleansing system that utilizes a 600-meter U-shaped floating barrier with a tapered 3-meter deep free-flowing skirt to catch debris underneath the water surface without disturbing marine life functionality.

The barrier design features a solar-powered lighting system, anti-collision technology, cameras, sensors, and satellite antennas all the while using the natural elements of the ocean including wind, waves, and currents to effectively trap floating debris which will be removed on a scheduled monthly date by receptacle vessels who will collect the waste, return it to treatment plants where it will be recycled, repurposed, and used to create more valuable items for long-term effectiveness.

This system could potentially eliminate the 1.8 trillion pieces of waste weighing in at 80-metric tons known as Great Pacific Garbage Patch in a reasonable amount of time.

What Slat and his team of 70 associates are doing with the Ocean Cleanup initiative is impressive, worthy of conversation, and appreciated by us but we still have a responsibility as everyday patrons to do our part as well. As a society, we need to substitute harmful products and man-made elements for biodegradable options and exercise better recycling habits.

Hopefully more initiatives like the Ocean Cleanup surface to employ and provide the masses with purpose. And as previously stated, our societal ailments might be abundant but we gotta take care of home first. Be conscious of your actions and how they could possibly affect the environment and do your fair share to preserve the land, water, and air we’ve been blessed with.