Kelvinwright's Blog

postmodern thoughts

The Ocean Clean-up

Great ocean garbage patch  According to stats quoted on Boyan Slat’s website,,

Millions of tons of plastic have entered the oceans (UNEP 2005)
Plastic concentrates in five rotating currents, called gyres (Maximenko et al., 2012
1/3rd of all oceanic plastic is within the great Pacific Garbage Patch (Cózar et al, 2014)

This causes environmental damage (at least one million seabirds, and 100,000 marine mammals die each year due to plastic pollution), economic damage (to beaches, fishing vessels), and health damage (swallowed by fish, the plastic contaminates the food chain). Much of this is already known, so why write it about it here? Because Boyan Slat believes that he has the solution. And via crowd funding he has already raised over $2million. Not bad for a 20 year old – that’s right, Boyan is just 20 year’s old – he is another example of a motivated Gen Y’er with a belief and an atittude to do.

Whilst he acknowledges that the problem must be stopped at its source (preventing more plastic entering the oceans) there is an existing mess to clean up. The Ocean Cleanup works to develop the world’s first viable method to clean the gyres of plastic, using the currents to its advantage. As Boyan states: “Why move through the oceans, if the oceans can move through you? An array of floating barriers first catches and concentrates the debris, enabling a platform to efficiently extract the plastic afterwards. We have now proven the … concept is likely a feasible and viable method to remove almost half the plastic from the North Pacific Garbage patch in 10 years, while being … faster and … cheaper than conventional methods. The Ocean Cleanup now works towards a large-scale and operational pilot in 3-4 years’ time.”

Of course, had Boyan gone for an interview at a “normal” company, had he found a normal job and proposed something that others said was impossible or crazy, he might have been called obsessive, unrealistic. So he set a up a team of 100 volunteers and himself became the lead.

So the next time you interview or meet an enthusiastic 20-something with a crazy idea, don’t dismiss it or him/her. Boyan Slat wants to clean the world’s oceans – the person in front of you might be able to solve something must simpler in comparison.

For more information visit:

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November 12, 2014 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,

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