Let’s set sail towards the 8th continent…
Well… not really.
Due to a worldwide crisis of pollution due to things like improper disposal of plastic, we are now seeing a huge formation of trash in the North Pacific. In fact, it’s filled with 1.6 million square meters of debris… large enough to be considered its own continent!
It’s called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and it’ll keep growing if we don’t manage it.
This “new continent” has a new solution…
To combat this patch that could be around for many generations, Slovak designer Lenka Petráková conceptualized a prototype of a cleaning and research facility that will hopefully be able to slow the growth of this mass.
Very fittingly, it’s named the 8th Continent after how massive this pile of trash is.
The structure is designed for the Pacific Ocean and hopes to be self-sufficient in order to not contribute any more pollution that it’s trying to fight.
How will it be designed?
The structure will consist of interconnected petal-shaped buildings that will stand on platforms that look like tentacles. It will be composed of five parts that work together to collect plastic and other trash from the water’s surface, which will then be repurposed into recyclable materials.
But this idea doesn’t stop at just collecting trash from the ocean. The 8th Continent will also include a research and education station. There, scientists will be able to study and showcase more information about the marine environment, the impact of greenhouse gases, and learn more about other conservation efforts.
And if you’re wondering about the employees and researchers running the show, don’t worry – they’ll have their own living areas as well.
The station will also be built to withstand the harsh conditions of the ocean – it’s designed to allow wind to pass through the station, rather than around it (phew…no seasickness).
The facility will also be able to collect water for irrigation, along with using tidal movements and solar panels for energy production.
Creative ideas reap the rewards…
Unsurprisingly, this concept has caught the eye of the environmental community.
A French institute that recognizes sustainable and innovative ideas between scientists and designers awarded the 8th Continent with the 2020 Grand Prix Award for Architecture and Innovation of the Sea from La Fondation Jacques Rougerie.
Currently, ocean plastic pollution has impacted at least 267 species worldwide. Researchers are hoping that innovative ideas like the 8th Continent will catch people’s interest and encourage others to create a better world for marine life and future generations.