Real Problem, One Real Solution

Published: May 14, 2021

By Jim Lichtman
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In the ’70s film, The Graduate, young Benjamin Braddock is attending a celebratory party arranged by his parents when he is pulled to the side by a business friend of the family. The older man puts his arm around Ben, then lowers his voice before distilling his business wisdom into one word: Plastics.

Plastics may have been the best career advice at the time but times have changed.

The amount of trash rolling around the oceans of the world is staggering. More staggering is that 80 percent is plastic. How much?

According to the National Geographical Society, (are you sitting down?), “There are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. Of that mass, 269,000 tons float on the surface, while some four billion plastic microfibers per square kilometer litter the deep sea.”

To say that man’s impact on the oceans has been exceedingly irresponsible is putting it mildly.

SeaCleaners, an organization devoted to the issue of plastic waste, reports that “Seventeen tons of plastic waste are dumped into the oceans every minute… and 1,400 species are already impacted.”

Last year, “three separate scientific papers… red-flagged the scope of the problem for the public. But beyond the shock value, just how does adding up those rice-size fragments of plastic help solve the problem?”

Here’s what it is.

SeaCleaners has developed an incredible piece of engineering that begins to address the problem with extraordinary results.

Here’s what it does.

It sails along the ocean and like a Manta Ray, sifts and collects plastic and other waste. Inside the vessel, the waste is sorted, and the plastic is used to run the ship. The rest is collected and deposited into containers for recycling centers. All of this is the result of engineering a group of forward-thinking individuals who are focused on the solution to a worldwide problem.

While I applaud the incredible achievements in space of Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, wouldn’t it be great if they could expand their thinking and engineering achievements to dealing with plastic and other wastes?

Manta is a great start to the problem, however, each of us owns part of that problem and each of us need to learn more and reduce the waste we have created.


  1. Thanks for the info and I certainly support the work of SeaCleaners. Lets see more.

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