Article of the group n° 070


Our project is based upon the constatation that human activity and especially its pollution had lead to the constitution of a « seventh continent » made only of plastic. There are actually two of these additional continents : one in the Pacific ocean, and one in the Atlantic ocean. As we all know, rivers flow into oceans ; we therefore concluded that the problem was mainly there and that the problem of pollution should be taken upstream.

In order to do that, we interviewed several experts, but we could only put some of them in our campaign video. First, Gabrielle Bouleau, who is a specialist in public policies of water governance, accepted to answer some of our questions. She mainly told us that even if people create solutions such as water dustbin or complicated systems to eliminate the plastic in the rivers and oceans, that wouldn’t be enough. Effectively, she thinks that the reduction of plastic in water will take place only if we educate people. Invite people to sort their waste and publicity campaigns are not enough to her. We have to take the next step in heightening awareness to stop this scary evolution of presence of plastic in the oceans.

We then managed to interview Patrick Deixonne, but we could only reach him by e-mail because he was out of the country. He is an explorer who lead an expedition to discover the seventh continent and understand its mechanism. With a team, he studied the subtropical gyre of North Pacific. He understands that there are a lot of contrary ocean currents that creates some kind of whirlwind in the water that condense and gather all the plastic that has been rejected from the coasts and rivers. He therefore discovers that this is the most string concentration of waste and that it has, of course, catastrophic consequences on animals and plants.

And finally, there is Boyan Slat who we unfortunately couldn’t interview but whom we read all about. After he made a presentation of his revolutionary project « The ocean cleanup » at a TED conference, he managed to gather more than 2 millions of dollars to realize the first phase of his project. The idea is the placement of floating barriers in shape of « V » in the depth of 3 meters. The barriers are supposed to retain the plastic and any other object floating and lead them to an extraction platform. This platform would be working with solar energy and would gather the materials to evacuate and recycle them.

Those are our three principal sources of information during our project. We understood that the cleaning of the rivers in the way we wanted is a big project to have and that it would take time : first, because we need more innovations on the subject to find THE solution that would repair all that have already been done, but that would also be able to apply to large scale and with a reduced cost in the ideal ; and second, because the population must be sensitized to this problem with other and better means, such as educating in priority the children, and this all over the world.