This Massive Ocean Cleaning System From A 21-Year-Old Inventor Will Launch Next Year

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Learn how this genius idea could clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

The numbers are staggering: There are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. Of that mass, 269,000 tons float on the surface, while some four billion plastic microfibers per square kilometer litter the deep sea.

Although scientists have known for decades about the accumulating mass of ocean debris and its deadly consequences for seabirds, fish, and marine animals, the science of sea trash is young and full of as-yet unsolved mysteries. Almost nothing was known about the amount of plastic in remote regions of the Southern Hemisphere, for example, until last year because few had ever traveled there to collect samples.

Enter the invention by Boyan Slat. It’s basically a gigantic net that allows marine life to pass through safely, but captures floating debris left in the water by humans.

“Taking care of the world’s ocean garbage problem is one of the largest environmental challenges mankind faces today. Not only will this first cleanup array contribute to cleaner waters and coasts but it simultaneously is an essential step towards our goal of cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” Slat said.

The following video describes how this will work