Boyan Slat, high school student tried to develop a device for his school project which can help in cleaning the oceans. In the year 2012, when Boyan was just a 18-Year-Old kid, he gave his first TEDx talk where he talked about cleaning the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a vast and a still growing island floating in the north Pacific ocean between California and Hawaii.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch was first discovered by Charles Moore in 1997. Waste collected in that patch due to the swirling vortex of ocean currents that draw marine debris together. According to a recent study, the garbage patch which greatly consists of plastic pieces, fishing nets, etc is now 4 to 16 times larger. Charles Moore had estimated that it would take up to 79000 years to clean it.
However, the 18 year old kid said that with the use of right technology, the garbage patch could be cleaned in just five years with minimum impact on environment. Today, this 18-Year-Old is the owner and CEO of a Dutch non-profit organisation, The Ocean Cleanup. This organisation collects wastes from the oceans through technological ways.
Boyan had spent six years studying the ocean’s whorl and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to develop the most effective ways of collecting the garbage. In the year 2014, this 18-year-old kid Boyan Slat became the youngest receiver of the UN’s highest environmental award called Champion of the Earth.
The official cleanup of the ocean was programmed to start in 2018. According to Boyan, they would be able to collect half the garbage in just 5 years. Boyan Slat and his team found that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch contains 1.8 trillion plastic pieces. Slat’s Ocean Cleanup machines use the own currents of the oceans and the physics of how plastic pieces move and gather around without using unnecessary energy and resources.
The team is set to place their 2000 meter long system for their first development along the Tsushima coast, located between Japan and South Korea. The first project is expected to last for about two years. After this, the team has planned to go to the ocean between Hawaii and California to set a 100 kilometer system of the project.
According to Slat, “Taking care of the world’s ocean garbage problem is one of the largest environmental challenges mankind faces today. Not only will this first cleanup array contribute to cleaner water and coasts but it simultaneously is an essential step towards our goal of cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.”