Date:October 29, 2020

Boyan Slat, The “Boy Genius”, Has A Great Plan To Remove All Plastic From Oceans by 2050

Extraordinary are the people who, not only dare to dream big but dare to work and strive hard towards achieving those dreams. One of those people is Boyan Slat, a Dutch inventor and entrepreneur, who now is the CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, which has been established since 2013.

He came up with this huge invention idea when he was only 18 years old. His primary goal was and remains to clean the ocean from plastic waste.[/caption]

His environmental organization, which now is growing further and has over 80 engineers, researchers, scientists, and computational modelers, has been collecting plastic waste using a 600-meter floating barrier. And the first haul of waste has been dug out from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

The statistics of plastic waste dumped in the oceans are alarming. With 300 million tonnes of plastic waste produced yearly, 5 trillion pieces of plastic are dumped in the ocean, and  90% of seabirds have swallowed plastic. Thankfully, Boyan’s invention is here in the rescue.

Boyan thinks that The Ocean Cleanup is the solution: a giant floating barrier, or boom, that uses natural forces to passively scoop up the waste. And it seems to be working in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP).

This device is designed to eliminate litter from the ocean, and it started off in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch since it is the largest collection of ocean plastics in the world. The device is located between California and Hawaii, covering 600,000 square miles of the ocean. In this place, due to plastic waste, over 100,000 animals across 700 species have died.


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Assembly yard & San Francisco

A post shared by Boyan Slat (@boyanslat) on

Not only the Great Pacific Garbage Patch  affects marine life, but according to the organization, it also affects humans as well, in an indirect way, “Once plastic enters the marine food web, there is a possibility that it will contaminate the human food chain as well.”

The device was firstly launched in the Pacific Ocean in September 2018, but it was found to be spilling the collected plastic back on the ocean. So they had to modify and improve the device, and they did so.

Now, the new version is using underwater parachutes to slow the array’s movement through the water. According to Slat, this would allow the device to “take the plastic distribution down from twice the size of the state of Texas, to 1/35 the size of the city of Houston.”

The Ocean Cleanup website clarifies how the latest version works:

“ Our cleanup technology has been designed to do the hard job of concentrating the plastic first before it can be effectively removed from the ocean.

The system consists of a long floater that sits at the surface of the water and skirt that hangs beneath it. The floater provides buoyancy to the entire system, while the skirt prevents debris from escaping underneath and leads it into the retention system, or cod end. A cork line above the skirt prevents overtopping and keeps the skirt afloat.”

Natural forces sweep trash into the system, which is slowed down by an anchor to allow it to trap the debris. – Image: The Ocean Cleanup[/caption]

After every few months, the ships will return to land with the collected trash ready to be recycled.

Models indicate that The Ocean Cleanup device could clean the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by 50% within just 5 years. The nonprofit organization hopes that “after fleets of systems are deployed into every ocean gyre, combined with source reduction”, this device will eradicate 90% of ocean plastic by 2040.

Boyan’s vision is to get rid of all the ocean plastic waste by 2050. And with his determination and spirit, we hope this will become true too.




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“We must defuse this ticking time bomb.”

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