In Depth ~ Ocean Plastic

Have you heard about this amazing 20-year-old Boyan Slat from the Netherlands? “While diving in Greece, he became frustrated when coming across more plastic bags than fish, and wondered: “why can’t we clean this up?” ~  The Ocean Clean Up website.

Boyan-1resize600 We hear about the problem of floating garbage islands in the oceans.

  • “Millions of tons of plastic have entered the oceans (UNEP 2005)
  • Plastic concentrates in five rotating currents, called gyres (Maximenko et al., 2012)”

We read about ecological effects of plastic killing ocean life,

  • “At least one million seabirds, and one-hundred thousand marine mammals die each year due to plastic pollution (Laist, 1997)
  • The survival of many species, including the Hawaiian Monk Seal and Loggerhead Turtle, could be jeopardized by plastic debris (Derraik, 2002)”

and polluting the food chain.

  • “Toxic chemicals (including PCBs and DDTs) are adsorbed by the plastic, increasing the concentration a million times (Mato et al., 2001)
  • After entering the food chain, these persistent organic pollutants bioaccumulate in the food chain (Tanaka et al., 2013) ” ~ The Ocean Cleanup

Even though we may question how can one person have a positive impact?  Even though the experts says it’s impossible and too expensive to clean up, along comes a person who sees things differently.

Not knowing or believing that ocean clean up is an impossible task, Boyan Slat is a young man who thinks out of the box.  His invention stays in one place, and the rotating currents bring the plastic through the clean up sites.  See Boyan’s amazing vision in this TED talk you tube video.

TOC_ChapterRenders5K_0007600xUsing crowd sourcing for funding, plus 100 dedicated volunteers, his vision has evolved.  Powered by solar panels, the cleanup device with boom arms collects the ocean plastic.

TOC_ChapterRenders5K_0004resize600The gathered, and then recycled plastic can pay for the cost of the device.  Prevention is half of the problem, but the other half is clean up.  “We created this mess.  We can clean it up together” ~ Boyan Slat

Tip Micro Beads: Check your toothpaste, cleansers, cosmetics for ingredients listed as micro beads, or micro plastics.  These are plastic particles too small to be filtered by most water treatment plants.  The plastic washes down drains to our rivers, lakes, and oceans, absorbing pollutants, eaten by wildlife and fish, then ending up in our food chain. 

Good news, natural ingredient alternatives are apricot kernel shells, or jojoba beads.  Be informed, read the labels, vote with your dollars.  You too can have an individual impact.  It all adds up for the common good. To find out more information, go to 5

A place to check your products for microbeads

The Ocean Cleanup facebook page.

All photographs courtesy of .

For other thoughts on plastic and marine life go to these inspiring blogs: Beauty Along the Road and Anarette’s Dancing With Whales.

© COPYRIGHT 2014-2016, Eco Elements, LLC, Vicki Persons. All rights reserved.

19 thoughts on “In Depth ~ Ocean Plastic

      1. Hola Vicki, Yes, we met in Blogging 101 and feels good to see you around in other classes too 😉 You are so right, if we believe it, we can become the change. However, nowadays some people are not at all thinking about the mother nature. We have to spread such messages to open there eyes. Thank you again 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Innovation, commitment and perseverance are definitely characteristics that this young environmentalist possesses. He is truly an inspiration! Thank you, EcoElements, for sharing and raising awareness about environmentally friendly and sustainable alternatives.

    Liked by 2 people

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