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Cleaning the oceans

Normally, I would dedicate this post to something microbe-y or biochem-y (are those even words?). Instead, I want to point out an interesting project that is currently in the planning stages. This project is spearheaded by a 19 year-old called "Boyan Slat", who wants to clean up the plastic in the oceans (the photo at left is from his website, www.boyanslat.com). You can find his website about the project here. What is really interesting about his proposal is that the actual cleaning stations are fixed in place, and the process of gathering up discarded plastic is dependent on the natural current of the oceans. Most projects revolve around a boat moving through the garbage patch collecting the debris, but this may have  some negative impacts on the environment such as CO2 emissions and the possibility of scooping up fish, birds and other marine life such as blobfish and blue whales (well, at least plankton). The type of filtration and the slow rate of flow (it depends on currents) presumably mitigate by-catch. It's a pretty neat project, and probably one to watch.

Also, the guy is 19! What were you doing at 19?