“A Day in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch”
Danish environmental nonprofit Plastic Change completed the last leg of its two-year expedition collecting microplastic samples across several seas and two oceans last fall. The final part of the journey took the crew from Los Angeles, California, to Honolulu, Hawaii, in 23 days. Before that the organization had sailed its sloop “S/Y Christianshavn” from Denmark through the Mediterranean, across the Atlantic, through the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal to the Galápagos, and then up to California. I accompanied them on their L.A.-to-Hawaii sail to witness and document what is considered one of the worst-polluted stretches of ocean in the world, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This video outlines one day (Day 14) of the group’s scientific research at sea, as well as major ideas related to the world’s plastic pollution problem.
At age 16 (2011), Slat came across more plastic than fish while diving in Greece. He decided to devote a high school project to deeper investigation into ocean plastic pollution and why it was considered impossible to clean up. He later came up with the idea to build a passive system, using the circulating ocean currents to his advantage, which he presented at a TEDx talk in Delft in 2012.
Slat discontinued his Aerospace Engineering studies at TU Delft, to devote all his time to developing his idea. He founded The Ocean Cleanup in 2013, and shortly after, his TEDx talk went viral after being shared on several news sites.
“Technology is the most potent agent of change. It is an amplifier of our human capabilities.”, Slat wrote in The Economist. “Whereas other change-agents rely on reshuffling the existing building blocks of society, technological innovation creates entirely new ones, expanding our problem-solving toolbox.