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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  1. tony

    isn’t it sad. We pay thousands of polititions millions of dollars every year around the world and it takes a 19 year old to show them how to fix one of our most important problems. Congratulations Boyan.

  2. Liz Herdson

    wonderful! what a brilliant young mind… this article should include links to donate or participate somehow in getting this project up and running…

    • there is at the end of the article, check at the bottom

  3. NightRaider

    Great idea! I have some questions but not in the spirit of throwing a wet blanket on this idea, but in the spirit of playing the devil’s advocate to weigh the pros and cons. How do these arrays survive typhoons or even very heavy seasonal weather in the Pacific when swells can run between 20-50 feet in height? Maybe the garbage patches are in locations that are naturally out of the way of seasonal weather patterns and they are where they are for that reason. Any ideas?

    • Mikey

      I don’t know the mechanics of this station but how about making it submersible and return it to the surface when the storm passes?
      Just thinking out loud.

  4. Maurice

    The new hero’s the next generation will aspire to be will be people just like this 19 year old

  5. subhash.bose

    India also a good place to clean.

  6. Dalton Oliphant

    Why have you not Put this on kickstarter ??? Causes like this are what people throw money at we want and need projects like this. Let us help you back your design once the prototype is within reach! please

    • This is the kind of project Gazillionfund.com supports.

  7. Paula B

    Is the estimated 5 years’ clean up time with the assumption that no new trash is added during the process?

  8. Score Fuxxon

    It’s a great idea, but how is this tech going to stand against the increasing number of storms and hurricanes? :)

  9. Tara

    In San Luis Obispo, CA we have already banned plastic bags, started the ban in the summer of 2013. Would love to see other counties do the same.

    • Proinsias

      We banned them in Ireland in 2001 and it has been a great success

      • Raghuram

        When you say banned plastics its not the plastics bags you get after you purchase, every thing is packed in plastics and fun part is that in some countries they take extra price for shopping bag and the bag would be in btter quality. When you say banned, all the thermocoil wast is also part of plastic

  10. Anne

    There is a device along these lines in the Thames River.

  11. This is really awesome! It would also be awesome if our military would not throw the dam plastic in the ocean in the first place!! I couldn’t believe we did this.. I know because I was a PFC throwing mountains of trash straight into the ocean!

    • Andy

      Well…. The military is all about destroying the planet and killing people… All to keep the 13 Illuminati bloodline families rich. What do you expect… They don’t care about the planet they worship Satan. Bunch of freaks.

      • So you think people enlist just to keep these 13 families rich and in charge of the world? LMFAOOOO!

  12. Dan Klein

    Win , Win situation . Ocean cleaned AND The 7,250,000 tons of plastic can be converted back into fuel or recycled plastic. Get on board “big industry”….get er done !

  13. TedRad

    What ever materials we use for containers is irrelevant where garbage is concerned.
    We, as a world, need to stop dumping garbage in our oceans. Energy needs to be spent on education and enforcement. All countries that have dumped garbage into the oceans should be made to clean up their filthy mess. Especially the USA. The biggest garbage producers and dumpers in the world.

    • not true we can replace all plastics and petroleum products with hemp products and u cant say thats not biodegradable. We can stop poisoning ourselves, our environment and even save some money doing it. from cars to homes to clothing to even food hemp can help us change our world, our economy and our health. Its about time ppl started realizing there are answers if we actually want to do something different and healthier…what did they use to clean up the nuclear spill in japan???? HEMP….FREE THE LEAF~

      • Yes, absolutely.

      • It is a great plant and there are great uses for it. But you still need a resin to make car panels so there is some petrolium products involved. And they haven’t cleaned up Fukushima yet! It is still a mess! Hemp saves lives!

        • Really? How come henry ford built his first car 100% out of hemp and only hemp and if I’m not mistaken it was also running on hemp oil?
          And on the subject of plastics there is endless potential in cellulose from all kinds of plants, not just hemp!

      • Zomboof

        The nuclear spill in Japan isn’t cleaned up yet

        • tombo

          Oh, well lets ignore everything else then… Incidentally have you got any suggestions to help with the radioactivity?

  14. Kyle

    I find it odd there are so many idiotic comments on here, could it be possible that the powerful elements destroying our oceans so they can trap us in an environmental prison they helped create. Keep up your work on this project because the excessive trolling is revealing.

    • Guillaume


  15. Coffee

    Even if he doesn’t get it right this time, he’s 19 for goodness sake; he’s got plenty of time to work out the kinks. What are you doing in the meantime? Kudos Kid!!

  16. Joan P

    Can plastic (or something that acts like plastic) be made that is biodegradable? If so, let’s make it and ban the other kind. That would be a lot simpler than sweeping the oceans.

    • It was either China or Japan, they inveted a boidegradable plastic made from beets.

    • Great idea, except we still need to sweep the oceans, they are already so dirty marine life is dying from swallowing plastics, there is a garbage patch in the Pacific larger than France, and there is more plastic particulate than plankton in a liter of sea water.

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