Children: Let them amaze you
This Teenager Cleans Up
I was listening to the radio the other night - one of my favorite programs on the BBC called Outlook which tells true life stories about the resiliency of the human spirit, people who have survived harrowing experiences, and innovators who are working to make the world a better place.
The host, Matthew Bannister, asks the questions that get the story out - he’s a great interviewer. About halfway through the program the other night, Bannister began an interview with Boyan Slat, a teenager from the Netherlands who has come up with a workable and efficient way to clean up all the plastic that we keep dumping into the oceans. When Boyan was sixteen, he was diving off the coast of Greece and got disgusted by all the plastic trash inhibiting his view of the ocean life. Later that day, at lunch with friends and family, he came up with an idea. Boyan said that it was on the proverbial back of the napkin that he sketched out a plan to clean up the oceans of the world.
Here is the rest of the story from his website, The Ocean Cleanup:
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 Ocean Cleanup Array 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 an estimated 7900x faster and 33x cheaper than conventional methods. The Ocean Cleanup now works towards a large-scale and operational pilot in 3-4 years’ time.
"Human history is basically a list of things that couldn’t be done, and then were done."
19-year-old Boyan Slat combines environmentalism, entrepreneurism and technology to tackle global issues of sustainability.
While diving in Greece, he became frustrated when coming across more plastic bags than fish, and wondered: "why can't we clean this up?"
While still in secondary school, he then decided to dedicate half a year of research to understand plastic pollution and the problems associated with cleaning it up. This ultimately led to the passive cleanup concept, which he presented at TEDxDelft 2012.
Working to prove the feasibility of his concept, Boyan Slat currently leads a team of approximately 100 people, and temporarily paused his Aerospace Engineering study to completely focus his efforts on The Ocean Cleanup.
In 2012, The Ocean Cleanup Array was awarded Best Technical Design at the Delft University of Technology, and took second place at the iSea sustainable innovation award by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment. Boyan Slat has been recognised as one of the 20 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs Worldwide (Intel EYE50).
Here’s the link to The Ocean Cleanup and how you can help:
Boyan’s interview is the third one on the program, BBC Outlook: