19-Year-Old Develops Cleanup Array To Remove 7,250,000 Tons Of Plastic From Oceans

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boyanslatAnother young creative mind working towards bettering our world. 19-year-old Boyan Slat has revealed his plans to the world regarding his Ocean Cleanup Array that could remove 7,250,000 tons of plastic waste from the world’s oceans. The revolutionary device consists of an anchored network of floating booms and processing platforms that could be dispatched to garbage patches around the world. Instead of moving through the ocean, the array would span the radius of a garbage patch, acting as a giant funnel. The angle of the booms would force plastic in the direction of the platforms, where it would be separated from plankton, filtered and stored for recycling.

It all began when Boyan Slat launched a project that analyzed the size and amount of plastic particles in the ocean’s garbage patches. He produced a paper of his findings which went on to win several prizes, including Best Technical Design 2012 at the Delft University of Technology. Boyan also had the opportunity to unveil his final concept during a TEDx talk in 2012.
Boyan states “One of the problems with preventive work is that there isn’t any imagery of these ‘garbage patches’, because the debris is dispersed over millions of square kilometres. By placing our arrays however, it will accumulate along the booms, making it suddenly possible to actually visualize the oceanic garbage patches. We need to stress the importance of recycling, and reducing our consumption of plastic packaging.” Wise words from a truly innovative mind. After his impressive invention, Boyan decided to found The Ocean Cleanup Foundation, a non-profit organization responsible for the development of his proposed technologies. If brought into fruition, his solution could save hundreds of thousands of aquatic animals annually, reduce pollutants (including PCB and DDT) from building up in the food chain and even improve human health given the fact harmful plastic has been found in humans after being in the ocean. 


Once built, it is estimated that the entire clean-up process would take about five years to complete. Along with clean-up, the new technology can help to raise awareness about the world’s ocean plastic garbage patches and how we must begin to exercise new ways of producing packaging and other products. You can find out more about his project and contribute to the crowd funding campaign by visting his site http://www.boyanslat.com/plastic4/

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CE provides a space for free thinkers to explore and discuss new, alternative information and ideas. The goal? Question everything, think differently, spread love and live a joy filled life.

  1. Patricia L Holman

    THAT would be wonderful for Hawaii that is hit not only from the usual garbage but is being inundated with debris from the Japanese tsunami…

  2. Above comment says this article is NOT true – BUT THE ARTICLE IS TRUE. You can check out http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-ocean-cleanup-feasibility-study — copy/paste into hhtp. Everyone knows PLASTICS are a problem. This concerns Oceans.

  3. This sounds good and all, but the ocean will eat a plastic bottle in about 30 days.

    • You’re completely wrong. It can take a year or more for the plastic to degrade. In the meantime is breaks down into small particles that cover the ocean surface choking out light, killing plants an algae that fish are dependent on. It’s destroying an Eco system.

      • Bozher, you’re full of it. There is no one, anywhere, with any sort of decent education, who would agree with that idiotic comment. Google “garbage patch” as a beginning search into why you’re comment is idiotic.

      • Clear plastics don’t choke out light bro.

  4. condicere

    Yeeeah, what about the bottom of the ocean ?

    You know, that place, that can crush anything into nearly infinite density, considering the weight of the water above. Not only that but apparently not very many people have a high school physics education.


    Not your friend.

    • Plastic floats Condicere didn’t you know that! DAMN!

    • well your high school physics left out one vital fact.

      hence the whole premis of the project.

      • EnochRevelations on FB


        • abbey

          No… Try it. lol

  5. Good Luck Bud!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lots-o-idiots out there….

  6. Sugar B

    Bozherm where’d you get that info from?? My husband is a polymer engineer, and he guffawed at your comment.
    Condicere, just how do you think plastic is going to make it to the bottom of the ocean? Seriously!! 😛

    • When plastic is dumbed in oceans by the ton weight, it’s not going to float! It’s going to sink. And yes, between the harsh salt water and the sea, it will eat plastic up. Have you ever looked at the bottom of hard metal boats and seen the deterioration? And you think soft plastics can survive? Sugar B, I suggest your ‘polymer’ engineer might need to actually go out some piers and study what happens in the seas. I doubt he has a farking clue.

      • Voice of reason

        Judy…Metal and plastic are made of different molecules!! Metal boats are corroded by salt and water, just like your car in winter when they put salt on the road. That’s because many metals oxidize with salt
        & water.The element iron “rusts” when it reacts with oxygen of the air, usually in the presence of water, to form a brown substance known as iron oxide. It is a slow chemical reaction which takes place over a period of time.
        Rust is the common name for iron oxide. Iron oxide is comes in several forms. The most common are:

        FeO —- iron (II) oxide
        Fe3O4 – iron (II,III) oxide
        Fe2O3 – iron (III) oxide

        As to why iron will rust, or put more chemically, why iron will oxidize :
        Iron oxide has a lower free energy than do iron and oxygen. Just as a ball will roll downhill because it has a lower free energy at the bottom of the hill than at the top, iron will combine with oxygen – essentially ‘rolling down a chemical reaction hill’. The reason things like water, salt, acids and other chemicals cause iron to rust faster, is that these substances act as catalysts to the oxidation reaction.

        Practically all metals oxidize just like iron; however, usually this layer of oxide on the surface protects the rest of the metal. Aluminum objects, for example, all have a thin layer of Aluminum Oxide on the surface, protecting the rest of the metal from oxidation. With iron, the oxide layer happens to flake off or “exfoliate”. This exposes new metal under the oxide layer and so it doesn’t protect the metal like oxide layers do on other metals. So, iron doesn’t rust because it oxidizes more easily than other metals. Aluminum actually oxidizes more readily than iron. But iron’s oxide’s layers flake off, so the metal isn’t protected by it.

        We can also say that the addition of water (hydration) is taking place, and as iron is a transition element, it has variable oxidation states. Before adding water, its oxidation state is +2 and after the addition of water it is a +3 state. Metal rusts as a result of iron coming into contact with water or air. When the water combines with air on the metal, carbonic acid is formed and the iron is dissolved hence making some of the water to break down into hydrogen and oxygen. When the oxygen comes into contact with the iron, iron oxide is formed making the metal to rust.

        Rust occurs when iron reacts with oxygen and then forms iron oxide. This only happens in metals when moisture, oxygen, and iron react to each other.

        There is a completely different molecular structure in plastic. Plastic is designed to be inert and stable so it is no surprise that it is slow to decompose.
        The conditions for plastic decomposition are usually limited to attack by ultraviolet light or heat which break down the bonds between the monomers and cause the large plastic object to shatter and reshatter until it becomes just an inert particulate. UV rays from the sun and the mechanical motion of the ocean are the only things that break down plastic in the ocean. Once they are small enough in size and reach the size of say a piece of plankton, many small fish eat them thinking they are plankton. Also many filter feeders like baleen whales will scoop them up along with their plankton. I remember reading an article that said for every one real piece of plankton, there are 5 pieces of plastic of plankton size in the same water!


      • robbryan

        Plastic obviously floats since we have pictures of it floating. The weight is irrelevant to floating or sinking. That’s determined by density. (Steel ships float…)

    • Thanks, Sugar!

    • @ Sugar B! You tell em. This is going to be profound to our world, the shmucks who just sit around and give commentary need to get a life,

  7. DavG

    plastic floats dumbass

  8. rtw

    This young man is actually doing something in attempts to help our planet; whether it works or not is besides the point, but with this invention, it is one step closer to helping solve one of the many problems created by man. What are YOU doing to help? :)

    • Paul

      Thank you for your intelligent, inspiring response. Instead of finding fault with this article encourage all to do better.

  9. Bill

    Barnicles, mollusks and other sea life attach to floating plastic and eventually sink it. And not all plastic floats. Thats how plasttic ends up on the ocean floor.

  10. David Ball

    Its not whether the plastic floats or sinks, its that it is there at all that matters. It is hazardous to sea life, thus it is hazardous to human life, we cannot continue to poison our planet….we have nowhere else to live.

  11. perry cotoner

    if every body will be educated on how to dispose their garbage properly
    it will not be necessary. lets solve the problem from the root cause and not
    concentrate on the effect believe me it will not stop from there.

    • tay oh

      While I agree with you perry cotoner that doesn’t change the fact that there HAVE been effects on many areas of the world, in this case, our oceans. If we solve the root problem without fixing the other ish we’ve done, we’re still going to be stuck with the lingering remnants of evil that is possible. People can’t argue that “there’s already damage done, my one piece of trash isn’t going to make it that much worse” if they’re faced with a clean world to try and throw away unto. I mean..they can..but it’s much easier to argue back and stop the actions at the root of it the more back-up power you have.

  12. Dana

    Not exactly… Still studying feasibility

  13. Tim

    What’s wrong with you cynics… Jesus. It’s like you WANT to float in your fu-cking filth. There’s always gonna be critics and people who believe their own stupid ego-thoughts. Good luck f***ers.

  14. good idea

  15. I for one will celebrate this boy’s achievement today. He doesn’t waste his days and nights commenting on “news” articles, opinion blogs, or other people’s comments (like I do…lol) He’s out there. Learning, thinking, and acting. Sarcasm and “witty negs” are “like sooo yesterday.” Particularly those of us who spend a lot of time online are often in the habit of being immediately skeptical and disdainful of well all kinds of things. Why is it easier to call people idiots because they think differently or to scoff the efforts of those who try to live a dream? Find your own dreams and you will not need to worry about what others think and say and do. And you will be less inclined also to mock what another will dedicate his life to. Every moment here is precious. Laugh often, but laugh from a heart of Love.

    • robbryan

      I don’t see him out there Liz. His entire “plan” is nothing more than hype. The people at Algalita and 5Gyres have been working on this for a number of years. As a lifelong mariner, I have to agree with Stiv, Boyan’s plan has no basis in reality. His equipment will be torn apart in 1 month. It’s great to dream, it’s wrong to take peoples money claiming it’s “in development”.

  16. Minds !

  17. Becca13

    I believe he’s on the right track and should be supported. I agree that the people that think it’s a waste of time don’t care and don’t know what they are talking about. Let the young think great big ideas and let them implement them if it’s going to save the world. The rest of us need to do our part in becoming more resourceful, recycle, reuse, reinvent. It’s so simple. love, love and love the world and the young.


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