Ocean CleanUp and Boyan Slats are Going to Clean Up the Plastic Pollution With Giant Inflatable Booms

"The Ocean Cleanup Project is looking to install a one kilometre, V-shaped boom in the middle of the ocean..."

21-year-old inventor Boyan Slats is a prodigy in the world of eco innovation, and his ambitious plans to finally rid the oceans of plastic waste have just taken another step toward reality.

Slats came up with the idea of trash-catching barriers a couple of years ago, and the Dutch entrepreneur’s Ocean Cleanup Project successfully released its first prototype off the coast of the Netherlands last week.

There are more than 244,000 tonnes of plastic floating in the oceans, and it’s estimated that within 10 years all sea birds will have some sort of plastic in their bodies.

The Ocean Cleanup Project is looking to install a one kilometre, V-shaped boom in the middle of the ocean which will collect plastic which washes against it. The waste goes towards the centre of the V, where it will be collected and sent for recycling – and sensationally, it’s been named “Boomy McBoomface”.

Slats’ barriers work like artificial coastlines, picking up litter and controlling the movement of litter in the sea. If the prototype is a success, there is a much larger plan to tackle the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, between California and Hawaii, in 2020, while next year will see another test off the coast of Japan.


Since first airing the concept, the Ocean Cleanup Project has crowdfunded a monumental $2.1 million and completed a feasibility study on the Great Pacific Garbage Path – a swirling patch of ocean twice the size of Texas rammed full of rubbish.

Before that happens though, the OCP need to study how the barriers work in extreme weather conditions. With the test taking place in the North Sea, which is far more ferocious weather-wise than the Pacific, a successful test now would be a great boost for the process.

“We want to find out in this test in practice if we can install a construction for several years or even decades in the sea and test its efficiency as well as wear and tear under the microscope,” the 21-year-old inventor said at the launch of his visionary project.

“This is a historic day on the path toward clean oceans. A successful outcome of this test should put us on track to deploy the first operational pilot system in late 2017. I estimate there is a 30 percent chance the system will break, but either way it will be a good test.”

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