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Home » How The Oceans Can Clean Themselves by Boyan Slat at TEDxDelft (Transcript)

How The Oceans Can Clean Themselves by Boyan Slat at TEDxDelft (Transcript)

Boyan Slat

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Once there was a Stone Age, a Bronze Age and now we are in the middle of the Plastic Age. Because every year we produce about 300 million tons of plastic and a fraction of that enters rivers, waterways and eventually the oceans.

If we want to eat a biscuit nowadays, we have to buy a biscuit within a plastic wrapper, within a plastic tray, within a cardboard box, within a plastic foil, within a plastic bag. It’s not hazardous nuclear waste — it’s a biscuit.

And this is me. I love diving just taking you through my holiday slides here. This is at the pristine Azores Islands and this is how their beaches look. Covered with plastic fragments.

Due to sun and waves over the years the garbage breaks down into ever smaller pieces, but remains plastic. And, well interestingly, you don’t see a lot of red particles in here because those look like food to birds more than any other color. So this is the result.

And well, the debris primarily collects at these 5 rotating currents called the gyres, where it doesn’t only directly kills sea life, but due to the absorption of PCBs and DDTs, also poisons the food chain. A food chain that includes us — humans.

And while diving in Greece I came across more plastic bags than fish and astounded by the depressing sights my Scottish dive buddy turned to me and said, “A lot of jellyfish is here, dear. Seen about a thousand.” There were no jellyfish.

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