Sunday, September 20, 2015

Forecast #3: Ocean Cleanup Kid aka UN's Champion of the Earth

The Ocean Cleanup

A) Articles:

18-year old sets out to clean up ocean 

-The Ocean Cleanup 

TED Talk (3 years ago)

"What We Do" (NOW)

"The Ocean Cleanup Kid"

B) Analysis:

I am beyond impressed by those who are courageous enough to even attempt to overcome the seemingly impossible. Especially those at such a young age. Let's just say that if I were to have invented anything at the age of 18, it would have been in complete vain.

Boyan Slat went diving in the off the coast of Greece and noticed there were more plastic bags in the water than actual fish. Using that experience, he fueled a movement to create the largest environmental impact to date. By the age of 18, he decided to take on an active operational tactic of saving the environment rather than learning about ways to prevent environmental issues. 

At that time there was no concrete amount of plastic that was known to be in the ocean. 

Over 30 vessels have set out in a recent expedition to determine how many tons of plastic are in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. He has now discovered that there is over 150 million tons and counting of floating in our ocean and washing up onto our beaches.

Thanks to a new mobile phone app, we can chart how big and how much plastic is in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, available as of August 19.

Now at the age of 20, he is Founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup with more than 100 employees under him. In 2014 he was crowned Champion of the Earth, the United Nations' highest environmental accolade. In 2015, HM King Harald of Norway awarded Boyan the maritime industry's Young Entrepreneur Award. If you feel like the ultimate underachiever compared to this guy, you're not alone!

With extensive research, he found a way to put a system in place that catches the plastics within the 5 main ocean currents, while filtering out the plankton with over 50g of centrifugal forces. He uses a boom that is set in place that is shallow enough to let sea-life to swim under while catching the top layer of plastics in the ocean. 

His Booms create a 100m barrier that catches the ocean's plastic. The current then centers all that is collected at the point of the barrier where a tower tower then stores the plastics :

It is 300 Million Euros to create the barrier, yet is 33% less than conventional methods since there are no operational expenses.

How do we change mindsets?

 Taking action and paving the way with serious impact. Set the example, and people will follow. No matter how old, what your education or social standing is, if you're passionate, dedicated and willing to make an impact, it will happen. Leadership works wonders when it's in the best interest of others. 

What do I want people to think about?

Slat say, "If we want to do something different, do we have to think differently?" that's when he implemented a way of using the so-called 'enemy' of the oceanic currents to his advantage. He viewed is as a solution instead, stating, "why move through the oceans, when the oceans can move through you?". 

C) Bullet Answers:

1. Global/ National/ Local/ Personal Impacts:

Reduction in poisoning the oceanic food chain, which in turn affects us through consumption. 

2.) Impact Over Time:

Slat says that we can collect half of the pacific garbage patch in 10 years time. 

It would take about 1 day to collect 25 tons of plastic. There are about 150,000 tons in one gyre alone.

To clean one gyre, it would take over 16 years. 

Taking into account the 5 gyres around the world, that is about 750,000 tons of plastic, which would take about 85 years to clean. Although it may sound like a long time, it is a considerably short amount of time compared to the 78,000 years previously calculated to clean the ocean using conventional methods. 

This however does not include the incoming plastics into the ocean. 

3.) Positive Outcome: 

As of Aug. 23rd, Ocean Cleanup has is set of to clean the Pacific by 2020. If all goes well, we would be able to implement this project at each of the 5 gyres across the planet, working simultaneously and thus reducing the time predicted to clean up the water from plastic. 

4.) Negative Outcome: 

The Ocean Cleanup project is forced to stop production and the world suffocates in its own surmounting waste. 

5.) Lens: 

Sustainability/human tech 


What would you have set out to invent when you were 17? 20? 

Would you put school on hold to pursue your passion if you knew it could save the world?

What would you do with the plastic collected?


  1. This is amazing! It's really inspiring to see someone so young doing something so impactful. I'm excited to see this project be implemented within the next 5-10 years, and I think it will inspire younger generations to do more for the environment and work hard on projects that they're passionate about. I'd like to see him collaborate with a young artist and do something with the garbage that gets collected

  2. I love this idea. This research was also brought to my BioSystem's class attention a couple of weeks ago and I am really beginning to see the crossover in topics/classes. I, too, love that a kid came up with it and that it is totally doable!


Just keeping things on the up and up since this is for my students to communicate first.