This Ingenious Plan for the Ocean to Clean Itself Is Led By a 20-Year-Old

Posted by on June 4, 2015 in Futurism & Inspiring Inventions, Technology with 3 Comments
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At TEDxDelft 2012, Boyan Slat captivated the audience with his idea for cleaning up marine litter. In a nutshell, he proposed to remove plastic from the oceans with the help of floating booms that run on natural energy. A green solution in more ways than one: no fossil fuels needed, no by-catch, and with clean oceans as well as a huge amount of potentially reusable plastic waste as an outcome. Slat's vision is now becoming a reality.

At TEDxDelft 2012, Boyan Slat captivated the audience with his idea for cleaning up marine litter. In a nutshell, he proposed to remove plastic from the oceans with the help of floating booms that run on natural energy. A green solution in more ways than one: no fossil fuels needed, no by-catch, and with clean oceans as well as a huge amount of potentially reusable plastic waste as an outcome. Slat’s vision is now becoming a reality.

By Bryan Lufkin | GIZMODO

A Dutch man barely out of his teens is leading one of the most ambitious ocean cleanup efforts ever: to halve the amount of plastic debris floating in the Pacific within a decade.

The man’s name is Boyan Slat, and he’s come up with a pretty ingenious way of doing it. Instead of clamoring around the globe on a never-ending junk hunt, he wants the ocean to “clean itself.”


Every year, 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into the oceans. Slat’s plan is to place enormous floating barriers in rotating tidal locations around the globe (called gyres), and let the plastic waste naturally flow into capture. These barriers aren’t nets—sea life gets tangled in those. They’re big, V-shaped buffers anchored by floating booms.

Slat’s nonprofit, the Ocean Cleanup, says the current will flow underneath those booms, where animals will be carried through safely. The buoyant plastic is funneled above and concentrates at the water’s surface along the barriers for easy gathering and disposal.

Ocean Cleanup

Last month, it was announced that this ocean-cleaning system—which the company says is the world’s first—will be deployed in 2016. They’re planning to station it near the Japanese island of Tsushima, situated in between Japan’s Nagasaki prefecture and South Korea. The detritus-catching apparatus will be 6,500 feet wide and is being called the longest floating structure ever placed in the ocean.

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  1. heyokafreespeeech@gustr.com' heyoka journalism says:

    thank you cln community for this section and good news. things are turning. it’s so
    good to know that CLN journalism cares and reports
    comprehensively and in-breadth. even the truth ~

    we are all related.
    bsnorrell.blogspot.com
    pachamama.org

  2. patiannenigro@gmail.com' Pati Nigro says:

    This is truly inspiring and I hope it will be completed in design and put into action…did it get corporate financial support? What about the big environmental groups like Greenpeace and NRDC, Sierra Wilderness, World Wildlife Foundation…? This young man obviously brilliant so what is an idea of mine must be already obvious to him! Could they produce and install these ‘nets’? Also, how does he get the support to scientifically follow thru; and expertise to go there on boats made and test the plankton?

  3. maryfcrutcher@gmail.com' Mary says:

    It sounds like a great idea. I hope it does the job well.

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