Could A Teen Save The world’s Oceans? Student, 19, Claims His Invention Could Clean Up The Seas In Just Five Years!

A Dutch teenager has invented a device that he claims could clean up some 20 billion tonnes of plastic waste from the world’s oceans.

Boyan Slat, 19, came up with the idea of a series of floating booms and processing platforms designed to collect floating plastic rubbish.

The ‘ocean cleanup’ concept is designed to capture the floating plastic but allow life like fish and plankton to pass through unharmed, while saving the waste materials to be recycled.

The engineering student believes that once operational, his device could dramatically reduce the amount of rubbish in the oceans in just five years time.

Millions of tonnes of plastic debris are littering oceans and have accumulated in areas of high concentration called gyres – which are essentially floating rubbish tips.

This litter directly kills millions of aquatic animals annually but also spreads and introduces harmful algae and invasive species as well as man-made pollutants into the food chain, costing governments and organisations millions of dollars to clean up every year, according to Mr Slat.

While he believes humans must end their reliance on disposable plastic items and manage waste responsibly, his innovation could make a big difference to the cleanliness of oceans in the shorter-term.

He proposes fixing sea water processors to the sea bed, which are also attached to the floating platform so that the water can move through them and generate energy.

His concept also includes using floating booms instead of nets to cover vast areas of water effectively, while no mesh and a very low speed, means there will be ‘virtually no by-catch’ and unfortunate animals getting tangled in nets that are meant to help conserve their habitat.

Writing on his website, Mr Slat said: ‘Although this hypothesis still has to be tested, even the planktonic species – due to their density being close to that of the sea water – may move under the booms along with the water flow.’

While Mr Slat is now a student at the Delft University of Technology, he came up with the idea while he as at school to win a number of prizes and the respect of more experiences marine experts.

He has now set up The Ocean Cleanup Foundation to raise funds to develop his innovation.

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