A 19-Year-Old Knows How To Remove 154 Million Pounds Of Garbage From The Ocean In Just 10 Years

Laura Willard Curated by

The idea alone is incredible. The fact that he's innovative at such a young age is inspiring. I learned the shortcomings of the current ways of removing garbage and the way this idea improves upon it. Pretty neat stuff.

Transcript:
Show Transcript Hide Transcript

Boyan Slat: I am Boyan Slat, age 19. I'm the founder and president of the "The Ocean Cleanup Foundation". I invented a method to cleanup almost half the Great Pacific garbage patch in just 10 years using the current to my advantage.

I was diving in Greece, I suddenly noticed I came across more plastics bags than fish. Then investigated the problem itself and why it's so difficult to cleanup. There is 150 million kilos of plastic in the Great Pacific garbage patch. In the past, there have been many ideas to cleanup plastic from the ocean, but they are all based on vessels with nets that would sort of go fishing for plastic. Not only it would take many billions of dollars and thousands of years. Yeah, it would also create bycatch in emissions and this plastic would doesn't stay one spot. So it keeps turning around in the ocean.

Why would you move through the oceans if the oceans can move through you ? So instead of going off to the plastics we touch a floating structure to the seabed and that first captures and concentrates the plastic before it can then get out of the ocean. From this Great Pacific garbage patch where we focused recent job. Almost half the plastic can be extracted within the ten years, so that is equal to about 70 million kilos of that extraction.

Once every one and a half month the plastic would need to be collected by a large tanker ship to land and it would there be turned into something else. We have proved plastic can be turned into oil, but perhaps there are even some other possibilities to use it into new materials.

The oceans are the most important life support system of a planet. It regulates the climate, it produces oxygen. The fast majority of biodiversity can be found in the ocean. The last few decades, especially there have been a lot of problems and they increase in intensity. Particularly,plastic pollution has been on the rise.

I don't really view my age as a disadvantage to get these things done. Simply, I thought about how to tackle the problem and worked for a couple of years to bring it closer to reality. The internet really made this project possible of course. Thanks to things like these presentations and crowdfunding you can do a large amount of things with limited amount of resources. Spreading the words would definitely be helpful and ,I think, in 20 years that this project has succeeded. Of course, I have other ideas. I'll still be busy.

There may be small errors in this transcript.
About:

I found this video, created by I Am Eco Warrior, on George Takei's Facebook page. (You should follow him if you don't already. He posts cool, funny, and interesting stuff.) You can also follow I Am Eco Warrior on Facebook and Twitter.

Topics:

Next bit of Upworthiness:

Flash Video Embed

This video is not supported by your device. Continue browsing to find other stuff you'll love!

Hey, Internet Friend. Looks like you're using a crazy old web browser, which is no longer supported. Please consider upgrading to something more modern—for a better experience, and a safer time online. We only want the best for you.

Download Google Chrome, and try it for a week. Don't think about it, just do it. You'll thank us later.