Slat has spoken before about the necessity to protect our oceans.
The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Solar Impulse Pilot: 'I Flew Over Plastic Waste As Big As a Continent'
The solar airplane as it approaches the California. Photo credit: Solar Impulse
"I flew over plastic waste as big as a continent," Piccard wrote. "We must continue to support projects like @BoyanSlat Ocean Cleanup," referring to Slat's ambitious project of ridding the world's oceans of plastic trash.
The Ocean Cleanup describes itself as the “world's first feasible concept to clean the oceans of plastic" and has garnered widespread public admiration and support especially for Slat, a former aerospace engineering student who proposed the concept when he was only 17.
Piccard and Slat also spoke on Friday as the solar-powered plane made its risky journey.
It's no surprise that the pilot and the young inventor linked up—both are using innovative technology to promote the greater good of the planet.
Piccard and the Solar Impulse team plan to fly around the world using only the power of the sun to promote clean transportation and other environmental causes.
"We have demonstrated it is feasible to fly many days, many nights, that the technology works," fellow pilot Andre Borschberg told the Associated Press.
"I think innovation and pioneering must continue," Piccard added. "It must continue for better quality of life, for clean technologies, for renewable energy. This is where the pioneers can really express themselves and be successful."
The Ocean Cleanup involves a massive static platform and V-shapped booms that passively corrals plastics with wind and ocean currents. If all goes to plan, the project will officially launch in 2020 and be the longest floating structure ever deployed in the ocean.
Similarly, both parties have experienced hiccups along the way. Before arriving in California, the plane, the Solar Impulse 2, had been grounded in Hawaii for nine months as it underwent repairs after its record-breaking five-day trip from Japan to Hawaii in July.
As for Ocean Cleanup project, despite a 530-page feasibility study, some critics and scientists have written off Slat's idea on mechanical design and ecological impacts. Dr. Marcus Eriksen, the co-founder of 5 Gyres, offered a number of constructive suggestions for the project.
Still, it's very clear that the environment needs whatever help it can get, from curbing our reliance on dirty energy to putting a stop to plastic waste. The world's oceans and marine life are suffering from a devastating plastic crisis, with 8 million metric tons of plastic waste dumped into our oceans every year. Plastic pollution is only getting worse as consumer use of plastic and plastic-intensive goods intensifies in emerging countries.
Not only that, an alarming new study by the University of Delaware physical oceanographer Tobias Kukulka reported that there might be much more plastic than what's estimated.
“My research has shown that ocean turbulence actually mixes plastics and other pollutants down into the water column despite their buoyancy," Kukulka said, according to UD Daily. “This means that surface measurements could be wildly off and the concentration of plastic in the marine environment may be significantly higher than we thought."
Marine debris that has accumulated in the Pacific Ocean. Photo credit: NOAA
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Tara Lohan
It's been the wettest 12 months on record in the continental United States. Parts of the High Plains and Midwest are still reeling from deadly, destructive and expensive spring floods — some of which have lasted for three months.
Mounting bills from natural disasters like these have prompted renewed calls to reform the National Flood Insurance Program, which is managed by Federal Emergency Management Agency and is now $20 billion in debt.
By Brenda Ekwurzel
When temperatures hit the 80s Fahrenheit in May above latitude 40, sun-seekers hit the parks, lakes, and beaches, and thoughts turn to summer. By contrast, when temperatures lurk in the drizzly 40s and 50s well into flower season, northerners get impatient for summer. But when those 80-degree temperatures visit latitude 64 in Russia, as they just did, and when sleet disrupts Mother's Day weekend in May in Massachusetts, as it just did, thoughts turn to: what is going on here?
By Eoin Higgins
A bill making its way through the Texas legislature would make protesting pipelines a third-degree felony, the same as attempted murder.
By Jeff Turrentine
First off: Bangkok Wakes to Rain, the intricately wrought, elegantly crafted debut novel by the Thai-American author Pitchaya Sudbanthad, isn't really about climate change. This tale set in the sprawling subtropical Thai capital is ultimately a kind of family saga — although its interconnected characters aren't necessarily linked by a bloodline. What binds them is their relationship to a small parcel of urban land on which has variously stood a Christian mission, an upper-class family house, and a towering condominium. All of the characters have either called this place home or had some other significant connection to it.