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The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Clean Up

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The garbage patch in the pacific ocean

The garbage patch in the pacific ocean

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The garbage patch in the pacific ocean

Kat Rogers, North Staff Writer

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Everyday there are increasing amounts of garbage flood the world’s oceans. There have been many attempts to preserve ocean life such as sending large groups of volunteers to pick up floating trash by hand. However this was short lived, costly and not very successful. These attempts included a new idea drifting around was produced by a 22 year old named Boyan Slat. His idea involves reducing the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This first surfaced in 2013 and raised 31.5 million dollars in funding from multiple different donors including San Francisco-based philanthropists Marc and Lynne Benioff, an anonymous donor, Peter Thiel and many others. The funding went towards designing materials and multiple trials for multiple designs.

Over the years, Slat’s plan of attack had changed multiple times. His original design involved putting a massive trash collecting trap into a seabed 4.5 kilometers below, however, many scientist didn’t like that idea due the harm it might cause to the seabed. Slat’s plan changed to deploy smaller arrays with underwater anchors that drift about 600 meters beneath the surface. The anchor will hold the collecting systems so they can collect garbage more efficiently in a fleet system. The new system has undergone many trials and shown a great success rate.

The Business Insider quoted him saying “These systems will automatically drift or gravitate to where the plastic is,” Slat said. “Instead of us being able to clean up 42 percent of the patch in 10 years, we can now clean up 50 percent of the patch in five years.”

There are many small things the student body can contribute to this large scale movement. Recycling, picking up trash and not littering is a small thing that could make a big difference.

Gloria Vass environmental science teacher at North gave input on ocean cleanup.

“Recycling has a indirect impact on ocean pollution,” Vass said. “80 percent of land pollution goes into the oceans. Recycling helps reduce the amount of trash that goes to a landfill and inevitably into the oceans. Our high school is very aware of recycling and we do a large part in trying to reduce our ecological footprint.”

This cleanup process hopes to target a crisis many have ignored. Many fail to realize the impact it will have on future generations including today’s children. This cleanups launch day is set for sometime in 2018. This amazing step in preservation for our environment will surely inspire more programs in the future and help the planet thrive again.

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