Plastic’s Reach

Ocean Cleanup Array by Boyan Slat via
Ocean Cleanup Array by Boyan Slat via

Plastic. Seems it has extended its reach into the farthest corners of the universe. An earliest post described how plastic has changed our lives, for better…and for worse. ADD link to earlier post. That post largely reflected on the growing problem of plastic in the oceans and the effect on plant and animal life. Now, it seems that plastic threatens our freshwater lakes now too. LINK here.

But wait. It doesn’t stop there. Plastic particles have been found on Saturn’s moon, Titan. The Cassini Probe has detected propene, or propylene on Titan.

It is the first definitive detection of the plastic ingredient on any moon or planet, other than our home world, says the US space agency (Nasa).

What does this mean for the oceans, lakes and rivers? What does it mean for outer space?

With the vast engineering knowledge present around the globe, you’d think we could solve this problem. And we can. We have ambitious engineers. It will take some financing from some courageous and gusty entrepreneurial types. Those aren’t hard to find. It will take people who have an undying passion for the environment and the drive to protect it. We have those. So why can’t we get started on this problem? Any company wanting good PR, this would be an easy ticket to kudos and celebratory high fives.

So realistically, what can be done?

Here’s something that could be a real contender, a real solution to the problem.

Check out Boyan Slat’s idea on this TEDxDelft video. He was just 18 years old at the time. He’s since gone on to found his own non-profit organization, The Ocean Cleanup Foundation. His idea is an ocean cleanup array that could remove 7,250,000 tons of plastic from the world’s oceans.

Sounds easy, right? Not only that, it also sounds possible.

Plastic in the oceans, lakes and rivers on this planet is a problem that must be solved. It must be solved now. And then the problem of plastic from satellites or space junk will then need to solved. Of course, managing plastic, and preventing plastic from escaping into natural environments, is the first step.

There’s always work to do. Ending plastic’s reach could very well be within reach.


Cite this article:
Burnes K (2013-10-31 00:08:53). Plastic's Reach. Australian Science. Retrieved: Jun 17, 2024, from

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