Boyan Slat & The Ocean Cleanup

The Man, the Myth, the Legend

After several years, a brilliant and motivated man has finally found a solution to the world’s problem of plastic pollution in the oceans. That man is Boyan Slat - a Dutch scientist, inventor, entrepreneur, and aerospace engineering student dropout from the Delft School of Technology.

 

He is the founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup (2012) whose mission is to develop new technologies that will get rid of all of the plastic in the ocean. This invention is essentially a pipe system with an attached screen that collects debris, plastic, and any oceanic trash utilizing the wind and oceanic currents.  

 

How does it work? 

This system uses floating structures that are placed in every strong circulating current in the ocean where debris (plastic or any other trash) will accumulate. Each station is a floating pipe with a screen underneath that catches the oceanic debris.

 

 

This system has been focusing primarily on the Pacific Ocean garbage patch, and it is estimated to be 50% gone within five years. During 2013, the entity raised $2.2 million through a crowdfunding campaign with 38,000 donors from 160 different countries.  Since then, Ocean Cleanup has raised $31.5 million in DONATIONS from entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and Europe.  

 

 

After years of revisions, scale models, sea tests, and trial and error, the system finally started to work in early October.  With the addition of the water-borne parachute to slow the circulation, and expansion of the line to hold the screen in place, the successful collection of plastics AND microplastics finally started to take off. 

 

Looking forward, the project intends to implement 60 more systems in the garbage patch by the year 2021 with full deployment of the cleanup by 2020.  

 

Conclusion

Slat has outdone himself with this amazing technological and environmental advancement that will persevere for years to come.

 

He turned his high school dream into a reality, and it has become wildly successful after countless trials and errors/prototypes. Intending to eliminate half of the Pacific Ocean garbage patch, the overall mission is to eliminate ALL plastic from the ocean. We’ve already seen plenty of efforts in places like the Gili Islands to reduce plastic use, but solutions are needed for all of the existing waste in oceans.

 

If things continue to succeed at this rate with the project, it’s very feasible that they will definitely achieve both their short and long term goals.

 

Where should The Ocean Cleanup operate next?

 

 

Writer: Austin Tuwiner

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