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Have you heard of Boyan Slat and his plan to clean up the oceans? There’s a good chance you have because his initial story went viral after he did a TEDx talk about how we could clean up the world’s oceans using his device.

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We first covered this story back in 2013 and at the time many people were talking about the huge potential his clean up array had in ridding the ocean of plastic. As stated by Boyan himself:  “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.

Many Said It Would Fail

Like with any great invention, many said it would fail and many even came after us for posting such a “ludicrous idea.” But as its been shown time and time again, ‘negative’ voices on the internet aren’t always best to listen to and I’m glad Boyan made that choice.

People claimed the problem would be too big to solve. We should only focus on land. His device wouldn’t be feasible. A lot of difficult things to face for a young person with an idea. For some this may have sidelined their efforts for good, but he kept going.

He ended up raising $2.1 million dollars to help get his project going and by June of 2014 he was publishing his astounding results.

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“The report’s main conclusion – that The Ocean Cleanup Array is likely feasible and financially viable method to cleanup nearly half the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 10 years – remains unchanged.

“There’s obviously a lot more work to do – we estimate the technology should be ready for full-scale implementation in three to four years’ time. Now that we are confident the first phase has produced a solid basis, we can now close off the feasibility study, and fully focus on initiating the Pilot Phase,” Boyan said.[1]

A Problem Is Never Too Big

I believe in many cases we only limit ourselves by the confines we allow our minds to put on something. I can promise you as an entrepreneur myself, people will try and cut you down from the very first day you mention your idea, but if you feel strongly or passionately about something, go for it. Even if you meet challenges that cause your journey to change, I can guarantee you will have learned a lot along the way. Sometimes it’s not always about the end result but instead, the journey.

Boyan is an inspiration in this case as well. He has met the challenges and ridicules of others and went forth anyway. There are many challenges in our world that need addressing and each can be addressed. If you have the inspiration to tackle one, go for it, no matter how tough it may seem.


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