Boyan Slat’s ‘Mega Expedition’ Shows ‘Our Oceans Are Riddled With Plastic’
A few years ago, when then-17-year-old Boyan Slat claimed he could rid the world’s oceans of plastic, many thought it was just a nice idea. But flash forward four years and what appeared to be merely youthful idealism has turned into concrete action. Yesterday, Slat’s nonprofit The Ocean Cleanup returned from a 30-day voyage through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
— Marc Benioff (@Benioff) August 23, 2015
The team was on a reconnaissance mission to determine just how much plastic is floating in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, “a swirling mass of human-linked debris spanning hundreds of miles of open sea where plastic outnumbers organisms by factors in the hundreds.”
— News in Summary (@news_in_summary) August 24, 2015
The researchers collected samples ranging from microscopic to as large as a 2,000-pound fishing net in what the group claims is “the largest ocean research expedition in history.” Using a series of measurement techniques, including trawls and aerial surveys, the fleet of close to 30 vessels sampled the concentration of plastic—all in preparation for the largest clean up of the area set to begin in 2020.
The team’s findings confirm the well-documented fact that our oceans are riddled with plastic.
“I’ve studied plastic in all the world’s oceans, but never seen any area as polluted as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” Dr. Julia Reisser, lead oceanographer at The Ocean Cleanup, said.
“With every trawl we completed, thousands of miles from land, we just found lots and lots of plastic.” In so-called “hot spots” of the garbage patch, “there were hundreds of times more plastics … than there were organisms,” Reisser told Reuters.