'Truth spoken without moderation reverses itself'
This blog is a source for intellectual exploration. It includes a list of alternative resources and a source of free books. The placement of an article does not imply that I agree with it, merely that I found it thought-provoking. There are also poems and book reviews. Texts written by me are labelled. Readers are free to re-post anything they like.
Boyan Slat's ambitious plan to rid the world's oceans of plastic has taken another
step towards reality with its first prototype to be tested at sea. The Ocean Cleanup
Foundation, founded by the 21-year-old Slat, has deployed a 100-meter
clean-up boom today in the North Sea in The Netherlands. The prototype was
unveiled before its main partners, the Dutch government and marine contractor
Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V.
The system will be
installed roughly 12 nautical miles off the Dutch coast where it will undergo
sensor-monitored tests for the next year. According to The Guardian, the vulcanized rubber barrier will passively
coral floating trash into a V-shaped cone via the ocean's natural currents. The
structure is anchored at a depth of up to 4.5 kilometers by a cable sub-system. The 100m-long barrier
will be towed 20km out to sea for a year of sensor-monitored tests.
Today is a major
occasion for Slat, who came up with his highly publicized concept a few years
ago when he was only a
teenager. “This is a historic
day on the path toward clean oceans," he said.
The organization pointed out that although some trash may be caught
during the North Sea prototype test, collecting plastic is not its objective.
Rather, "the objective is to test how The Ocean Cleanup's floating barrier
fares in extreme weather at sea—the kind of conditions the system will
eventually face when deployed in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch."
"At the North Sea
test site, conditions during a minor storm are more severe than those in
exceptionally heavy storms (occurring once every 100 years) in the Pacific
Ocean," the organization said. If everything goes as planned, the first
operational pilot system will
be launched off Japan's coast in 2017 to stop plastic pollution from reaching
Tsushima island. By 2020, The Ocean Cleanup with deploy a full-scale,
100-kilometer-long system between Hawaii and California to tackle the Great
Pacific Garbage Patch.
Slat, however, noted
that a successful test does not necessarily mean the North Sea prototype will
survive. “I estimate there is a 30 percent chance the system will break, but
either way it will be a good test." The Ocean Cleanup
describes itself as the “world's first feasible concept to clean the oceans of
plastic," and the team saw successful
tests of scaled-down prototypes at the Maritime Research Institute
Netherlands last year.
The Dutch government,
which is in full support of the project, is convinced of its feasibility, as
The Guardian reported. The entire project will eventually cost an estimated 300
million euros. “The Ocean Cleanup is
an inspiring example of how we can tackle the growing problem of ocean
pollution," Dutch Environment Minister Sharon Dijksma said. "I hope
that with the help of the Dutch government, Boyan's prototype will turn out to
be the successful solution for cleaning up the mid-ocean gyres. This is crucial
to prevent permanent damage to the environment and marine life, due to the
degradation and fragmentation of plastic waste materials."