Published On: Wed, Jun 17th, 2015

21-Year-Old Inventor Said He Could Clean Up The Ocean—Now He’s Really Doing It

Boyan Slat's giant ocean trash cleanup machine will begin its work in 2016.


Boyan Slat, 20-year old founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, announced last month that the world’s first system to passively clean up plastic pollution from the world’s oceans is to be deployed in 2016, off the coast of Tsushima, an island located in the waters between Japan and South-Korea report The Ocean Cleanup. It will be operational for at least two years, catching plastic pollution before it reaches the shores.

Less then three years ago, in 2012, when he was just 18 years old, Boyan Slat first proposed his giant marine cleanup machine during a TED talk. The Holland born inventor,  combines environmentalism, and technology to tackle global issues of sustainability. He told the audience that after diving in Greece, and coming across more plastic bags than fish, he wondered; “why can’t we clean this up?”

He sketched a vision for a massive floating boom that would collect trash using the ocean’s own currents.

TsushimaCaIt  plastic pollution before it reaches the shores  mera4_1K

The talk has been viewed more then 2 million times, and about a year ago his crowdfunding campaign raised more than $2 million.

Talking to Boyan Slat said “It’s a challenge to find ‘A class’ people and form a team. You need people who enjoy working up against technological boundaries and get energy from that, instead of being demotivated by it. Hopefully, there will be a point pretty soon where there’s just the final problem we’re working on, and we can start with the whole operational aspect. But we’re not quite there yet.”

Watch his TED talk:

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