Cleaning the Oceans, Pollution Solutions

A harsh truth and solutions in progress, the work of Boyan Slat and his partners.


A harsh truth is that human beings lack of care and respect for the earth through ocean dumping has created dis-ease for the fragile ecosystems that support all life on earth. Having been born into this problem, some young innovators are working towards solutions and they are in progress. The work of Boyan Slat, a Dutch inventor and entrepreneur and his partners is in focus here. Boyan Slat presented an idea to clean up the plastic in our oceans at the age of 17. Now at 22 years old, he is making his dream come true.

Plastic Ocean Infographic

Slat was inspired by the Charles Moore who discovered the garbage swirls that plague the earth. Captain Charles Moore, the discoverer of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, speaks about the discovery in an interview published in Natural History magazine in 2003 –

“So on the way back to our home port in Long Beach, California, we decided to take a shortcut through the gyre, which few seafarers ever cross. Fishermen shun it because its waters lack the nutrients to support an abundant catch. Sailors dodge it because it lacks the wind to propel their sailboats.

“Yet as I gazed from the deck at the surface of what ought to have been a pristine ocean, I was confronted, as far as the eye could see, with the sight of plastic.

“It seemed unbelievable, but I never found a clear spot. In the week it took to cross the subtropical high, no matter what time of day I looked, plastic debris was floating everywhere: bottles, bottle caps, wrappers, fragments. Months later, after I discussed what I had seen with the oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer, perhaps the world’s leading expert on flotsam, he began referring to the area as the ‘eastern garbage patch.'”

Captain Charles Moore (Natural History, Trashed Across the Pacific Ocean, plastics, plastics, everywhere. by Charles Moore 2003)

Moore himself in his Ted Talk speaks about the discovery with a sense of hopelessness. Slat, on the other hand, remains optimistic and founded The Ocean Cleanup, a group that develops advanced systems to rid world’s oceans of plastic.

He designed a passive system for concentrating and catching plastic debris driven by ocean currents and started a foundation to move forward.

An estimated 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic are polluting our oceans. Essentially that is contaminating and harming the water itself and the animals who live in it. The 5.25 trillion pieces equal an unfathomable amount of was totalling 269,000 tonnes. The next video shown is the most recent, a longer video that gets into the current state of the project and an example of how the technology works.

The current state of affairs presents a dire picture.

Pictures like the ones shown have an impact and these captures motivated him to find a solution and has been working towards it.

As difficult as these pictures are to view, we cannot hide from the harsh truths of our destruction as a species on this planet. Still and finally the paradigm is shifting and solutions are coming to the forefront. Here is an in-depth and recent video about the current state of the project.

Transforming Ideas into Reality

What do you think? Do you know of other solutions that people are working on actively to resolve these problems? Please share your thoughts in the comments and if you liked this article, please share with your friends.

Want to learn about some ways you can make a difference? Check out our plastics and good stuff pages.