How to stop plastic from entering the oceans - Boyan Slat

Boyan Slat went diving in Greece back in 2011 and sadly found more plastic bags than fish. Since that day he decided to do something about it.

Cleaning the world’s oceans was considered an impossible task at the time. Something Boyan Slat couldn’t just accept. Therefore he started some serious investigation into ocean plastic pollution once back home.

Only one year later he entered the TedX stage with a now famous solution: a passive garbage collection system that would use natural currents to pick up plastic. The Ocean Cleanup project was born with the mission to clean up 90% of the ocean plastic pollution. Boyan Slat was only 18 years old at the time (?!?!?!).

However, it turns out it’s a bit harder in reality. They are making progress for sure, but we haven’t yet seen the rapid clean-up that was anticipated. And the reports have been somewhat scarce in contrast to the initial hype.

Then about a year ago, seemingly out of nowhere, Boyan Slat enters the stage again to unveil a secret project they’ve been working on.

“Close the tap”

The premise is simple: In order to keep the oceans clean from plastic, we need to cut off the supply. Making sure that new plastic never leaves land in the first place.

The Ocean Cleanup team used some cheap technology to collect real data about rivers. It turns out that only 1’000 rivers are responsible for 80% of the pollution.

This plastic needs to be intercepted somehow in order to close the tap. Starting with the rivers that contribute the most…

Now 26 years old, an extremely laid back Boyan Slat methodologically walks you through their findings and unveils a solution.

This presentation is brilliant and certainly deserves more attention. It will leave you with a happy feeling no doubt.

Additional links for the interested:

Header photo by The Ocean Cleanup