futuristic city
Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
December 10, 2023 ·  2 min read

The ‘8th Continent’ Is a Floating Self-Sustainable Ocean Cleaner

The world’s oceans are in danger, and therefore so is the planet. Few people understand just how dire this situation is than Lenka Petráková, senior designer at Zaha Hadid Architects in London. She designed what’s being called the 8th continent: An entirely self-sustainable floating dwelling that cleans the ocean of plastic. (1)

The Floating 8th Continent

While in university, Lena Petráková studied ocean pollution. When she learned of just how much plastic was in the ocean, she knew she had to do something. She came up with the idea of the 8th continent for her master’s thesis at the University of Applied Arts in Studio Hani Rashid. (1)

The 8th continent is a self-sustaining floating station that collects and recycles plastic out of the ocean. (1)

“I realized how destroyed the oceans are and how many species are extinct, how much pollution is there, and that the parts that may have never seen a human being feel the effects of our activities,” she explained. (1)

Petráková took inspiration from marine life when designing her floating station. It is not just in how the 8th continent looks, but how it interacts with its ocean environment, how it creates energy, and more. (2)

“I was looking into marine species, animals as well as plants. And I was studying how they really interact with water environments, how they can harvest energy, and how they work with nutritions, for example,” she said. (1)

Read: Woman Finds Way To Recycle Plastic Into Bricks That Are Stronger Than Concrete

How The 8th Continent Works

The 8th continent, which is to float on the Pacific Ocean, is made up of five main sections (2):

  • A barrier that collects waste and harvests tidal energy
  • A collector that sorts, biodegrades, and stores all of the waste
  • The research and education center where residents can study and showcase environmental effects on the ocean
  • A greenhouse for growing plants and desalinating water
  • The living quarters, where people live

Based on its inside environment, the ocean’s movements, and its position, the 8th continent shifts to keep everything stable. It is entirely self-sustaining and uses energy from both the ocean’s waves as well as the sun. (2)

The Plastic Problem

On top of the 150 million metric tons of plastic already in our oceans, we add 8 million more metric tons every year. Plastic is found in every species of sea turtle and more than 60% of all seabirds. Not only do these plastics eventually make their way up the food chain to us, but they also affect the deep ocean, which has an incredible impact on our climate. (3)

Innovations like the 8th continent will not only help to improve the health of our oceans, but they will also improve the health of our entire planet.

Keep Reading: How creating wildlife crossings can help reindeer, bears – and even crabs


  1. THIS FLOATING ‘CONTINENT’ IS SELF-SUSTAINABLE AND CLEANS THE OCEAN.” Euro News. Doloresz Katanich. February 5, 2021.
  2. Self-Sustainable Floating ‘Continent’ Cleans Ocean Waste.” Interesting Engineering. Fabienne Lang. February 5, 2021.
  3. Fighting for Trash Free Seas.” Ocean Conservancy.