The issue of plastic pollution is not one that can be solved in a short time span. It will most likely require generations of scientists dedicated to addressing this issue. The general public is becoming more aware of plastic use in day to day life and more people are choosing to recycle or repurpose their plastics, but this is not a complete solution. In many cases, the damage has already been done, mountains of plastic waste in landfills or garbage patches in the oceans.
Luckily, there is a new wave of young, science driven individuals who are stepping up and proving ingenuity and hard work can really pay off. Projects such as Ocean Cleanup Project, led by 20 year old Boyan Slat, started off as a home project which quickly gained traction when he was featured on a TEDx talk. His idea consisted of using natural oceanic currents together with a self-sufficient netting array to divert and capture plastic debris in predefined areas. His success is in large part due to his understanding of how to best leverage the publicity gained from his TEDx talk, together with crowdfunding opportunities.
Boyan’s story is unique, but such stories do not have to be rare in today’s society. The culture surrounding plastic use should be that of limiting use, recycling, re-purposing but also rewarding those who dedicate their lives to finding a solution to this ever-growing problem.
We can all make an impact and contribute to the next Ocean Cleanup Project by browsing the links below: