Crowdsource prototyping ocean clean up


18-year-old Boyan Slat came up with a concept that may be able to remove vast amounts of plastics from the oceans.

Now, together with a group of students, engineers, oceanographers and industry experts, he has set out to investigate and demonstrate its viability and feasibility.

“I don’t know if it’s possible, and that’s exactly the reason I’m doing it.”


The world’s oceans are polluted with millions of tonnes of plastic.

Plastic reaches the oceans mostly from land through rivers and waterways, and then accumulates in five areas of high concentration, called oceanic gyres.

Not only do such ‘garbage patches’ directly kill millions of aquatic animals annually. They also spread harmful algae and other invasive species, and serves as a transport medium for pollutants (including PCBs and DDT), which accumulate in the food chain.

Plastic pollution costs governments, companies and individuals millions of dollars in damages per year, due to loss in tourism, vessel damages and (inefficient) beach clean-ups.


The ultimate solution to plastic pollution is clear: we need to close the tap by ending our reliance on disposable plastic items/packaging; we need proper waste management globally; and we need to become more aware of the problems our garbage is creating. Solving this massive problem will require dramatic changes at many levels- legislative, industrial, and individual.

However, even if we close the tap, we still need to clean up the massive quantities of plastic garbage already contaminating our oceans.

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