When the oceanographer Charles Moore first discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch–an area of the ocean where currents concentrate the plastic we throw into the ocean–in 1997, he was shocked by its magnitude and persistence. “It seemed unbelievable, but I never found a clear spot,” he wrote later in Natural History magazine. “In the week it took to cross the subtropical high, no matter what time of day I looked, plastic debris was floating everywhere: bottles, bottle caps, wrappers, fragments.” In the years since the plastic buildup has only worsened. In a recent article in the New York Times, Moore reported that the Patch, through a process of accretion, now contains “solid areas you could walk on.”
It’s, therefore, good news that a massive cleansing project is proceeding ahead of schedule. Boyan Slat, who first set out a vision of his Ocean Cleanup machine in a TED talk six years ago when he was just 17, today announced that he’ll begin hauling trash from the Patch in 2018. The news is vindication for the project, which has received plenty of TED-sized hype and millions of dollars in philanthropy, but which has also been criticized by some campaigners who say it’s sucked up resources and raised expectations to impossible-to-achieve levels.
Source: for MORE