Can this massive invention save our oceans?

How can we solve the problem of plastic pollution in our oceans? Watch this video to find out how a giant ocean 'snake' could help!

Instructions

Do the preparation task first. Then watch the video and do the exercises. Remember you can read the transcript at any time.

Transcript

If you close your eyes and squint a bit, you could pretend this 600-metre-long tube is some kind of giant ocean snake. It's not, though. It's a device with a very special mission – to catch the ocean's rubbish, or at least some of it.

It's being towed out to a part of the Pacific Ocean known as the Great Garbage Patch. The water currents here happen to make lots of plastic rubbish drift together, and I mean lots – an area almost the size of Queensland.

Until now, it's been too difficult, too big, and too expensive to do much about it. That was until this guy came along, Boyan Slat. This snake thing was his idea, and it all started when he was still at school.

'I realised, back in high school, there might be an alternative.'

For a school project, he designed a system of floating barriers that would be up to 100 kilometres long. They'd sit in the path of ocean currents, in a V-shape, to capture and funnel any floating plastic. Then these giant towers would suck it all up.

'Instead of going after the plastics, you could simply wait for the plastic to come to you.'

We've spent a lot of time telling you about plastic pollution on BTN.

'Yup, a recent study found that Aussies discard more than 9 billion pieces of plastic every year. Unlike paper or cardboard, plastic takes a really, really long time to break down.'

'I've come to realise that our precious marine life are getting killed by the so-called innocent plastic bag.'

But finding solutions hasn't been easy, and with so much plastic already in our oceans killing our marine life, Boyan and his organisation, Ocean Cleanup, are hopeful they can tackle the problem, one giant snake at a time.

'I mean, this is pretty incredible. I mean, something that we've been working towards for five years. And just having it seen from the early conceptual sketches to, you know, now the first unit actually going through the Golden Gate and heading to the Garbage Patch is pretty incredible.'

It's aiming to trap some of the 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic that scientists estimate are swirling around here, while still letting marine life safely swim beneath it. It's fitted with solar-powered lights, cameras, sensors and satellite antennas, and the design will make it easy for boats to fish out the collected plastic every few months and transport it to dry land where it will be recycled.

Boyan is now 24, and despite the years of work that have gone into this, he says the system will still get some more tweaks in the coming months.

The hope is to take it even further, by letting 60 of these giant snakes loose on the Pacific Ocean by 2020.

That's a lot of hungry snakes who surely won't be going hungry. But hopefully they do, at some point.

© ABC

Discussion

What can we do in our everyday lives to stop plastic pollution?

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Comments

Submitted by A01178822 on Tue, 03/15/2022 - 22:47

Stop using or try to reduce the consumption of plastic in our day to day. Also make us really aware of the problem we generate by not taking care of our planet as we should.

Submitted by Francisco on Mon, 02/28/2022 - 23:19

What we can do to avoid plastic pollution is to buy less products packaged in plastics, avoid single use plastics such as straws for drinks and if you go shopping, do not forget to bring a bag of cloth.

Submitted by aa01660292 on Mon, 02/28/2022 - 23:05

I think that, to reduce the plastic in the world, is to reduce the use of plastic bottles, use more of the ecologic bags availeble at the supermarket and take the things that can be recycled to a special place.

Submitted by A01285833 on Mon, 02/28/2022 - 22:39

An eazy way to help is recycling every single bottle, box of cereals and paper that we dont use

Submitted by Valdez on Mon, 02/28/2022 - 22:37

We can accommodate our garbage by throwing it in the deposits corresponding to recycling

Submitted by A01286579 on Mon, 02/28/2022 - 22:36

What we can do to stop plastic pollution is to at least recycle plastic bottles and use ecological shopping bags so as not to waste plastic bags.

Submitted by obed27k on Mon, 02/28/2022 - 22:30

We should star to reuse plastics or send the plastics directly to a recycling center, or if its an option don't use plastics that will be thrown later.

Submitted by A01285215 on Mon, 02/28/2022 - 22:30

I think this is a big problem because we going ti finish with the planet in a years and the bitaly of the water is the biggest thing and we are not only affecting humans we are affecting all the live species and thats not good. we need to be more concious of our acts.

Submitted by LuisaM on Tue, 10/26/2021 - 20:40

Do not use plastic water bottles. We can buy stainless steel bottles that conserve water and are reusable. Substitute the plastic straws for the metal ones. In this way you can use them several times and you will not pollute. buy with reusable bags. Do not ask for plastic bags at the supermarket, take our bags from home and use them several times. Avoid buying products wrapped in plastic. For example, legumes or fruits. You can take reusable cloth bags and transport everything there, this way you will not use single-use plastic bags.

Submitted by emilianotellezz on Mon, 10/11/2021 - 19:05

In my opinion I think everybody should start with small details that can change a lot of your environment and can also make you a better version of yourself. In Mexico we must change as fast as possible before this covert to a serious problem.

Submitted by A01286985 on Thu, 10/07/2021 - 23:45

A01199092 The way for we must stop using plastic, is star using another materials, like paper, glass, etc. A lot of the time when we use something that is plastic we use to throw it in whathever part, and if you start thinking when we drink a soda of glass we keep it or put on the trash can.

Submitted by LeilanyMontes on Thu, 10/07/2021 - 21:48

We must avoid the daily use of daily talks, we should also no longer buy many items with plastic in supermarkets, stop buying bottled water, it is also better that you cook at home and do not buy food outside because you will be using a lot of plastic; these measures are some but we must begin to relate these ideas so that in the future we do not have consequences. (A01286347)

Submitted by duenezandres on Thu, 10/07/2021 - 21:43

Try and stop using plastic products in our every day life while also trying to reuse any plastic ítems or tools that we do use, also clean up your trash and also the trash that you see to keep our areas clean. All of this has to be listened. So many good and innovative ideas are coming out, so, it will never be over till it starts again, and it will never be over if we ignore it.

Submitted by mau_rdz on Thu, 10/07/2021 - 21:42

Melissa's comment: my ways of trying to keep the world a world without so much pollution is to reuse things that you can give them another utility as well as not spending so much water while taking a bath or brushing my right hand it is also good to separate garbage and organic garbage to compost it

Submitted by editor_rachael on Fri, 10/08/2021 - 13:42

Hi mau_rdz,

 

Welcome to LearnEnglish Teens! Please can you create separate accounts for each user? In our House rules we ask you not to share your account with other people.

 

In addition we have deleted the comment you posted by 'Natalia' because the information was copied from another website and this also breaks our House rules. 

 

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In reply to by mau_rdz

Submitted by Caballero on Thu, 10/07/2021 - 02:21

It is awesome how the people can think about the solution of the problem that is the pollution, in this case Boyan Slat create a really interesting machine that can take out the plastic of the ocean, I think if this ideas continue appearing the world is going to be a better place to live.

Submitted by xd12345 on Wed, 10/06/2021 - 21:59

We can recycle the plastic that we dont use anymore, or we can change for another material that is not plastic. we can stop trowing plastics like bottles, bags, etc. in the streets because that would make more longer to they to decompose

Submitted by mau_rdz on Wed, 10/06/2021 - 21:39

We can stop using plastic bags in the supermarket and use fewer plastic bottles with the water, soda, detergents, or other things, because this objects that are the plastic bags and the plastic bottles when the people throw it to the trash, this trash could end up in the ocean and therefore contaminate the water and it can affect the marine animals.
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Submitted by LeayPR on Wed, 10/06/2021 - 21:34

I think that we can do is to change the materials of all plastic products we use , like bottles or bags. Or we can use rule of three R's

Submitted by A01286985 on Wed, 10/06/2021 - 21:33

Mainly reduce the consumption of bottled products as this causes them to gradually accumulate and because plastic takes a long time to decompose it ends up in the ocean. It is also very useful to keep in mind that recycling, reusing and reducing can make a big difference to avoid damaging marine life as well as looking for a way to obtain ecological products.

Submitted by LeilanyMontes on Wed, 10/06/2021 - 21:30

We can substitute plastic elements for durable elements, such as straws for metal ones, plastic water bottles for metal bottles, take ecological bags to supermarkets, choose glass or cardboard containers, do not use disposable elements; and another thing we can do is use the three r's (reduce, recycle and reuse) to start a new process.

Submitted by a01424620 on Wed, 10/06/2021 - 21:26

We can easily take with us our own reusable bags to go to the supermarket, try not to buy water bottles but to have a thermo and take with us our own cups, plates and cutlery when we buy food to go, so we don't have to use disposable ones.

Submitted by LuisaM on Wed, 10/06/2021 - 21:25

Choose products that are packaged with cardboard or glass. For example, if we buy a drink, choose glass bottles or if we buy dishwasher detergent, choose a cardboard box. Avoid disposable products. It is essential to avoid the use of single-use plastic plates, cutlery and glasses.

Submitted by Gerardo on Wed, 10/06/2021 - 21:23

i think a good option is start using the 3 r’s principle, which are reduce, rehuse, and recycle. In my opinion, this three steps are something that enyone can do without any problem, so, it’ easier to keep them over time.

Submitted by LuisTonchez03 on Wed, 10/06/2021 - 21:17

I think this can save the ocean because it is a very good idea and if they develop more of those we can expand it a lot but obviously that costs money I say that the better developed countries should pay for it to have to clean the ocean.
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Submitted by Andrii on Mon, 08/02/2021 - 18:59

I think we should use more paper and cloth bags instead of plastic. We should also give used plastic bottles to recycling points or even use glass bottles.

Submitted by A01280844 on Mon, 03/22/2021 - 23:49

We can do thousands of things to stop plastic pollution. Some of the simplest things we can do is stop using plastic bags, use our own thermos so that in this way we do not use single-use packages, have our own recyclable cutlery, do not use straws, and try to separate the plastic from other materials so that in this way it can be put to use. Diana

Submitted by SantiagoDario on Fri, 03/19/2021 - 20:48

The best form to stop plastic pollution is to think more about how we can affect the earth with plastic pollution, and make the correct choice of putting the trash and things we don't need in the correct place, because everyone right now can do whatever he or she wants with the trash and throw it away but in the future we are going to live the consequences of this incorrect actions.

Submitted by a01198966_JB on Thu, 03/18/2021 - 23:10

We all in the world need to think always about what we do, one of the first things, the triple R, Reuse, Recycle and Reduce, with that three we can help us and the marine life, because the plastic pollution involves a lot of things, another one is the global warming, that have been produced by mistakes of humans.

Submitted by DanielGonzalez on Thu, 03/18/2021 - 21:10

There are many things we can do, many of them are in our daily life, for example, we can stop using plastic bags in our shopping we can use reusable bags for our items. Also another option is stop using plastic or PET bottles. They contaminate a lot, they finish in the ocean and contaminating it. And a good solution for that is to use our thermos. Our goal is to reduce all the waste we have in our world, and have a better future.

Submitted by a01286106 on Thu, 03/18/2021 - 20:25

Bruno: To contribute to our environment and stop the use of plastic that hurts the oceans, animals and the planet in general, we must apply the method of the three r's: Recycle, reuse and reduce, in addition to trying no longer to buy plastic things that are not reused or to buy alternatives such as duck bone straws because they are biodegradable and thus we take care of the planet to have a better future.

Submitted by Aguilar_tecnologico on Thu, 03/18/2021 - 08:06

To contribute to the environment and stop plastic pollution, which affects the planet and the oceans so much, we can implement campaigns to collect garbage, plastic, we can also help by changing plastic bags from the supermarket for cloth bags, etc.

Submitted by DiegoPeyrano21 on Thu, 03/18/2021 - 04:37

Plastic is in our day to day and produces very negative effects on the environment. To give you an idea, a plastic bottle can take about 500 years to decompose. It is evident, therefore, that we must avoid the consumption of plastics if we want to take care of our environment. -Without utilities plastic water bottles. -Substitute the plastic straws for the metal ones. -Avoid disposable products. -Choose products that are packaged with cardboard or glass.

Submitted by a01285458 on Wed, 03/17/2021 - 23:50

In our everyday lives we can start buying green products that help to increase the economy of companies that sell recycling friendly products, but we can also start from our own house by just start to use more recycling friendly methods in order to waste less, like reusing our bags from the stores or using natural boilers that boil the water with sun heat.

Submitted by A01286123 on Wed, 03/17/2021 - 23:49

Well, I think that the first step is at home, a good idea is to search in internet basic things to take care our environment, for example, in this case we can take care about what kind of packaging we buy and if those packaging can be reused or recycle, we need to do it.

Submitted by LuisMario1203 on Wed, 03/17/2021 - 23:43

Do not use plastic water bottles. We can buy stainless steel bottles that conserve water and are reusable. Substitute the plastic straws for the metal ones. In this way you can use them several times and you will not pollute. buy with reusable bags. Do not ask for plastic bags at the supermarket, take our bags from home and use them several times. Avoid buying products wrapped in plastic. For example, legumes or fruits. You can take reusable cloth bags and transport everything there, this way you will not use single-use plastic bags. Choose products that are packaged with cardboard or glass. For example, if we buy a drink, choose glass bottles or if we buy dishwasher detergent, choose a cardboard box. Avoid disposable products. It is essential to avoid the use of single-use plastic plates, cutlery and glasses.

Submitted by A01286176 on Wed, 03/17/2021 - 23:37

the most easiest way to reduce the pollution are stop using products that are no degradable because they could affect the environment, one example of this are stop using plastic because the plastic is affecting the life in the sea and some species of animals will be extinct I we are not stopping the pollution of the world

Submitted by claudiammgzz on Wed, 03/17/2021 - 23:34

What can we do in our everyday lives to stop plastic pollution? - Do not use plastic water bottles. You can buy stainless steel bottles that conserve water and are reusable. - Replace plastic straws with metal ones. In this way you can use them several times and you will not pollute. - Go shopping with reusable bags. Do not ask for plastic bags at the supermarket, take your bags from home and use them several times.

Submitted by a01177976 on Wed, 03/17/2021 - 23:27

To stop plastic pollution I can reduce the use of plastic bottles also the use of water because the water is so important, also we can reduce the use of the cars because all the gas go to the atmosphere and that could break down the ozone layer, also all the plastic like this mark of ziploc is so bad because many of the persons that use it let the bag in the streets and in all the places that are not the trashcan so if we start to use the 3rs we can have a better place.

Submitted by adrianam on Wed, 03/17/2021 - 23:27

Never throw plastic into rivers, never consume unnecessary plastic such as water bottles, grocery bags, straws and containers that we do not need. We can replace them with cloth bags, thermos or glass cups etc. We can also invite people to do the same actions

Submitted by a01286106 on Wed, 03/17/2021 - 23:26

In my opinion, the best way to stop plastic pollution is to start using less plastic bottles, remove gum from your life, limit food in plastic containers and avoid frozen foods.

Submitted by A01285604 on Wed, 03/17/2021 - 23:24

We can help by reducing our own plastic waste, reusing the plastic bags of the supermarket , refusing straws in restaurants, picking up trash in your neighborhood, using reusable bottles instead of plastic ones, among other things.

Submitted by A01280844 on Wed, 03/17/2021 - 23:21

One of the things we can do every day to stop the plastic pollution would be recycling, talk with the people you know about the importance of reusing things that are made of plastic and we could also go and collect the caps and bottles that you find in the parks and on the streets and take them to a recycling center.
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Submitted by A01285619 on Wed, 03/17/2021 - 23:19

To stop plastic pollution we can do several actions in our day to day, one of these actions could be to use other materials that do not pollute or take as long to degenerate as plastic.

Submitted by A01285604 on Fri, 03/19/2021 - 00:19

Omg, I completely agree with you, we can help by stop using plastic bags in supermarkets and use recyclable bags that we can use without having to throw them away!!

In reply to by A01285619

Submitted by CarlosB on Wed, 03/17/2021 - 23:19

To solve this problem and save our oceans, we need to reduce the use of plastic in our homes, we only have to buy plastic if it is really necesary; also we need to recycle the things that can be recycle and that we don't use.

Submitted by a01285665 on Wed, 03/17/2021 - 23:18

If we want to stop plastic pollution I think we can start by consuming fewer products that are harmful to the environment like plastic, also we can recycle this kind of product and separate them from the organic ones so they can be processed to be reused.

Submitted by Fatima on Wed, 03/17/2021 - 23:17

Try to use less plastic and replace it with biodegradable products and reuse the plastic materials we have such as bottles or bags for make toys or other things to reuse the trash.

Submitted by a01284839 on Wed, 03/17/2021 - 23:17

The thing we can all do to stop plastic pollution is putting in practice the three R’s, recycle, reuse and reduce, with this we are decreasing the amount of plastic we use so it would be less the amount of plastic that ends up in the ocean, so by doing this 3 things we are helping to stop plastic pollution.

Submitted by JohanaD on Wed, 03/17/2021 - 23:16

We can replace and plastics with glass, cardboard, cloth, ceramics reducing their use by materials that take less time to decompose. Apart from this we can throw things in their place instead of doing it on the ground, streets, and rivers that end up in the sea.
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