BOYAN SLAT - MEDIA REVIEW

A fixed capture and filtration instalation designed to capture plastic ocean waste

 

 

Boyan Slat

 

Boyan Slat presenting the Ocean Cleanup concept

 


Boyan Slat was born on the 27th of July 1994. He is a Dutch inventor, environmentalist and aerospace engineering student who works on methods of clearing plastic waste from the oceans. He designed a passive system for concentrating and catching plastic debris driven by ocean currents. This won a prize for Best Technical Design at Delft University of Technology and he has established a foundation — The Ocean Cleanup — to further develop and eventually implement the technology. Initially, there was little interest but, since his TED talk, How the Oceans can Clean Themselves, went viral, he has attracted thousands of volunteers and $2M of funding for pilot installations. In 2014, he won the Champions of the Earth award of the United Nations Environment Programme.

 

The ocean cleanup project has been the focus of much attention in the media, some of which is seen below. The treatment by each news organisation is similar with varying degrees of research.

 

 

BBC NEWS (MAGAZINE) OCTOBER 2014

 

Boyan Slat is a 20-year-old on a mission - to rid the world's oceans of floating plastic. He has dedicated his teenage years to finding a way of collecting it. But can the system really work - and is there any point when so much new plastic waste is still flowing into the sea every day?

"I don't understand why 'obsessive' has a negative connotation, I'm an obsessive and I like it," says Boyan Slat. "I get an idea and I stick to it."

This idea came to him at the age of 16, in the summer of 2011, when diving in Greece. "I saw more plastic bags than fish," says Slat. He was shocked, and even more shocked that there was no apparent solution. "Everyone said to me: 'Oh there's nothing you can do about plastic once it gets into the oceans,' and I wondered whether that was true."

Over the last 30 to 40 years, millions of tonnes of plastic have entered the oceans. Global production of plastic now stands at 288 million tonnes per year, of which 10% ends up in the ocean in time. Most of that - 80% - comes from land-based sources. Litter gets swept into drains, and ends up in rivers - so that plastic straw or cup lid you dropped, the cigarette butt you threw on the road… they could all end up in the sea.

The plastic is carried by currents and congregates in five revolving water systems, called gyres, in the major oceans, the most infamous being the huge Pacific Garbage Patch, half way between Hawaii and California.

Although the concentration of plastic in these areas is high - it's sometimes described as a plastic soup - it's still spread out over an area twice the size of Texas. What's more, the plastic does not stay in one spot, it rotates. These factors make a clean-up incredibly challenging.

"Most people have this image of an island of trash that you can almost walk on, but that's not what it's like," says Slat. "It stretches for millions of square kilometres - if you went there to try and clean up by ship it would take thousands of years." Not only that, it would be very costly in terms of both money and energy, and fish would be accidentally caught in the nets.

Slat had always enjoyed working out solutions to puzzles, and while pondering this one, it came to him - rather than chase plastic, why not harness the currents and wait for it to come to you?

At school, Slat developed his idea further as part of a science project. An array of floating barriers, anchored to the sea bed, would first catch and concentrate the floating debris. The plastic would move along the barriers towards a platform, where it could then be efficiently extracted. The ocean current would pass underneath the barriers, taking all buoyant sea life with it. There would be no emissions, and no nets for marine life to get entangled in. The collected ocean plastic would be recycled and made into products - or oil.

 

 

 

 

The high school science project was awarded Best Technical Design at Delft University of Technology. For most teenagers, it would probably have ended there, but Slat was different. He had been interested in engineering from a very young age. "First I built tree houses, then zip-wires, then it evolved towards bigger things," he says. "By the time I was 13, I was very interested in rocketry." This led him to set a Guinness World Record for the most water rockets launched at the same time: 213, from a sports field in his native Delft. "The experience taught me how to get people crazy enough to do things you want, and how to approach sponsors." Useful skills, as it turned out.

 

When Slat began studying aerospace engineering at Delft University, the idea of cleaning up the oceans just wouldn't let him go - he says it niggled at him like "an asymmetrically positioned label" on a pair of boxer shorts. He set up a foundation, The Ocean Cleanup, and explained his concept in a TedX Talk: How the Oceans can Clean Themselves. Then, six months into his course, he made the decision to pause both university and social life to try make it a reality.

 

His entire budget consisted of 200 euros (£160) of saved-up pocket money, so he spent a few desolate months trying to get sponsorship. "It was so disheartening, because no-one was interested," he says. "I remember one day contacting 300 companies for sponsorship - only one replied, and that, too, resulted in a dead end."

 

But then something happened. On 26 March 2013, months after it had gone online, Slat's TedX talk went viral. "It was unbelievable," he says. "Suddenly we got hundreds of thousands of people clicking on our site every day. I received about 1,500 emails per day in my personal mailbox from people volunteering to help." He set up a crowd-funding platform that made $80,000 in 15 days.

Slat still doesn't know what made his idea take off like that, but he describes it as a great relief. "A year ago I wasn't sure it would succeed," he says. "But considering the size of the problem it was important to at least try."

The amount of plastic being discarded into the marine environment is such that we could eventually see an ocean where the amount of plastics is roughly one third the total biomass of fish - 1lb of plastic for every 2lbs of fish, according to Nicholas Mallos from Ocean Conservancy, which organises coastal clean-ups.

According to the UN Environment Programme there are on average 13,000 pieces of floating plastic per square kilometre of ocean - but that goes up to millions of pieces in the gyres. Many of these particles end up being accidentally ingested by marine animals, which can die of starvation because of the plastic filling their stomachs.

 

Albatrosses are particularly vulnerable because they feed on the eggs of flying fish, which are attached to floating objects - now most likely a piece of plastic. Dr Jan Andries van Franeker from the Institute for Marine Resources and Ecosystem Studies (IMARES) in the Netherlands has some of these objects in a pot in his office: a toothbrush, cigarette lighters, floaters from fish nets, a golf ball, a tampon applicator - all found in albatross chick's carcasses. "The plastics may not directly kill the bird, but it will have less energy reserves and it will have a higher load of chemicals so if things get problematic at sea, or if you have to raise a chick, those are the ones that die first," he told the BBC.

 

Turtles tend to be the victims of plastic bags, which when immersed in water look just like jellyfish. Evolutionary adaptations make it impossible for turtles to reject bags once they've started to eat. "Because jellyfish are so slippery, turtles have a system in their throat that stops their prey from slipping out, so even if you find out it's a plastic bag, it has to go in all the way," says van Franeker.

 

 

 

 

The amount of industrial plastic pellets van Franeker finds in the birds has halved since the 1980s - it seems the industry has at least partially cleaned up its act. "It's an economic loss if the factory loses raw product," he says. "Unfortunately with consumer plastic, there is little profit in taking back waste. It doesn't cost us anything to throw it away."

But the cost to us could be very high, in the long term.

Plastics can act as a sponge and soak up chemicals in the water. "There are a lot of pollutants in the oceans now, things like DDT," Nancy Wallace, director of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Marine Debris Program, told the BBC. "Those chemicals adsorb on to the plastic and we know birds and fish are eating those pieces of plastic - so the question is, how does that transfer up the food chain and what is the impact?"

 

It is a grave situation - so when Slat came along with a seemingly simple solution, he began making headlines across the world. Could a teenager save the world's oceans? His enthusiasm fired up millions of people, but along with the offers of help and donations, came criticism. It wouldn't work, some said. Others argued that it would be better to collect litter from beaches, where it gets deposited by waves.

 

"It's in my nature that when people say something is impossible I like to prove them wrong," Slat says. Having caught the world's attention, the first thing he did was to disappear from sight. He needed scientific evidence to back up his theory and answer his critics.

He assembled a team of 100 people, mostly volunteers, who were spread out across the world - the lead oceanographer was based in Australia. To manage so many people at such a young age was "interesting", says Slat. "We had an intern who was 24 and we weren't too satisfied with him - I remember some colleagues saying: 'Oh, he's so young, he'll learn,' not realising that they were talking to a 19-year-old."

During the feasibility study Slat visited the gyre known as the North Atlantic Garbage Patch, where the platform is destined to be built. "I was pretty seasick the first three days. There were winds of 25-30 knots and waves 3m high. It was quite an experience," he says.

 

In June, a month before his 20th birthday, Slat re-emerged with a 530-page feasibility report, the cover of which was made out of recycled ocean plastic. The report, based on extensive testing and computer simulations and authored by 70 scientists and engineers, answered many of the questions which had been levelled at him by his critics. It was followed by another crowd-funding campaign which swiftly reached its target of $2m. This will fund a larger pilot next year and Slat hopes the North Atlantic platform could be a reality in 2020.

But if Slat expected all experts in the field of ocean plastics to welcome his concept this time, he was wrong.

 

 

 

 

PLASTIC SOUP ON YOUR PLATE

Ocean plastic breaks down into tiny fragments called microplastics, a term first coined by Prof Richard Thompson. Thompson found small quantities of microplastics in a range of fish species in the English Channel. "This in my opinion doesn't constitute a risk in terms of human consumption, but I am concerned about the longer-term," he told the BBC.

 

A study from Ghent University in Belgium found microplastics in mussels and oysters. Particles smaller than 2mm wouldn't get caught by Slat's system, but removing larger pieces would help to prevent the quantity of microplastics from increasing.

One problem is that plastic isn't just floating on the surface, but found throughout the water column, even in sediment at the bottom of the ocean. Dr Kerry Howell, a deep-sea researcher at the University of Plymouth, told the BBC that she has found rubbish in the deepest parts of the ocean. "You're going to a place no-one's ever been to before, you're going to the last frontier on earth, exploring new places, and you find that our litter's got there first," she says. "It's like going to the moon and finding a crisp packet."

 

Another issue is the potential effect on wildlife. "In terms of biological damage the concept is flawed," says van Franeker. "They say anything alive will be able to swim under the curtain, but some, like the fish eggs, will be trapped with the plastic which means they will still be there to be eaten by albatrosses - and in 10 years' time you will take away all the fish eggs along with the plastic."

Aside from the question whether the Ocean Cleanup technology could work, there is also the question whether it should be a priority.

"It seems a foolish strategy to focus on approaches to take litter out of the oceans, when we could prevent it from getting there in the first place," says Prof Richard Thompson of Plymouth University.

"If I had a sum of money to invest in the problem then I would spend 95% of it on approaches to stop the plastic from entering the oceans. Of course we want to find ways to remove litter but we shouldn't delude ourselves. It's like trying to mop up the bathroom floor while leaving the bath overflowing and the taps turned on full."

The mop analogy is one that Slat has heard often, and it really gets him fired up. "First of all, the 'mop' hasn't been invented yet so it certainly can't do any harm to try," he says. As for focusing solely on prevention, he feels it is an "uninspiring and demotivating message to say 'The best we can do is not make it worse'."

He adds: "Of course it shouldn't be an excuse to pollute, but I think it's a motivating message that it's not a hole that's too deep to climb out of."

 

Nicholas Mallos disagrees. "The risk is that people think there is one device that will solve our problem in a few years - this grossly over-simplifies the problem," he says.

"He has bright ideas about how to get plastic of various sizes out of the water, but it would be better if he directed his efforts to smaller-scale projects in river outlets," says van Franeker. "Only a fraction of the money would be necessary and it would be more effective."

Several other companies are now emerging with clean-up technology designed to capture plastic in rivers and streams, like the Plastic Visser ('plastic fisher') which is being trialled in the Netherlands, or the Trash Wheel - a solar-and water-powered barrier being used in Baltimore harbour.

Slat, too, is looking to develop spin-off technologies for use in rivers. "It is difficult to adapt something that works in rivers to the sea, whereas it's actually quite easy to adapt something that was developed for the worst conditions in the world - the sea - to work in rivers," he says. "That is why we're approaching it in this order."

At this point he is planning to stay in the Netherlands. "A lot of big names are here that I have to work with so it's a very suitable place to be - it's like the Silicon Valley of the off-shore industry," he says. "Perhaps [the Dutch] are under the impression that through engineering everything can be solved, and we're pretty good at mastering the ocean."

Meanwhile, as his friends lead normal carefree lives, Slat still works 15-hour days. "I haven't seen my friends for ages, they try to annoy me by telling me how fun university is," he says.

Slat doesn't think his youth has held him back, if anything it may have been an advantage: "Not only does it make the story more appealing, but I think I'm very enthusiastic about my concept and that really helped," he says.

Besides, he had everything to play for. "I had nothing to lose except my study income, so it was not a worry," he says. "If you want to do something, do it as soon as possible." A rallying cry to teenage inventors everywhere.

Boyan Slat spoke to Outlook on the BBC World Service. Jan Andries van Franeker and Nancy Wallace spoke to Shared Planet, BBC Radio 4. Professor Richard Thompson and Dr Kerry Howell spoke to Costing the Earth, BBC Radio 4.

 

 

 

 

DAILY MAIL 9 SEPTEMBER 2013

 

A Dutch teenager has invented a device that he claims could clean up some 20 billion tonnes of plastic waste from the world's oceans.

 

Boyan Slat, 19, came up with the idea of a series of floating booms and processing platforms designed to collect floating plastic rubbish.

 

The 'ocean cleanup' concept is designed to capture the floating plastic but allow life like fish and plankton to pass through unharmed, while saving the waste materials to be recycled.

 

The engineering student believes that once operational, his device could dramatically reduce the amount of rubbish in the oceans in just five years time.

 

Millions of tonnes of plastic debris are littering oceans and have accumulated in areas of high concentration called gyres - which are essentially floating rubbish tips.

 

This litter directly kills millions of aquatic animals annually but also spreads and introduces harmful algae and invasive species as well as man-made pollutants into the food chain, costing governments and organisations millions of dollars to clean up every year, according to Mr Slat.

 

While he believes humans must end their reliance on disposable plastic items and manage waste responsibly, his innovation could make a big difference to the cleanliness of oceans in the shorter-term.

 

He proposes fixing sea water processors to the sea bed, which are also attached to the floating platform so that the water can move through them and generate energy.

 

His concept also includes using floating booms instead of nets to cover vast areas of water effectively, while no mesh and a very low speed, means there will be 'virtually no by-catch' and unfortunate animals getting tangled in nets that are meant to help conserve their habitat.

 

Writing on his website, Mr Slat said: 'Although this hypothesis still has to be tested, even the planktonic species - due to their density being close to that of the sea water - may move under the booms along with the water flow.'

 

 

 

 

In a bid to solve problems of conventional clean-up measures, including rubbish escaping, emissions and high costs, he said his contraptions are 'completely self-supportive' and get their energy from the sun and waves.

 

'By letting the platforms' wings sway like an actual manta ray, we can ensure contacts of the inlets with the surface, even in the roughest weather,' he said.

 

As well as solving an environmental problem, Mr Slat also believes his invention could make up to $500 million a year from recycling the waste collected.

 

He said: 'This concept is so efficient, that we estimate that by selling the plastic retrieved from the 5 gyres, we would make in fact more money than the plan would cost to execute. In other words; it may potentially be profitable.'

 

Mr Slat believes that many people need reminding about the environmental disaster affecting the Earth's oceans.

 

He said: 'One of the problems with preventive work is that there isn’t any imagery of these ‘garbage patches’ because the debris is dispersed over millions of square kilometres.'

 

'By placing our arrays however, it will accumulate along the booms, making it suddenly possible to actually visualise the oceanic garbage patches. We need to stress the importance of recycling, and reducing our consumption of plastic packaging,' VR-zone reported.

 

While Mr Slat is now a student at the Delft University of Technology, he came up with the idea while he as at school to win a number of prizes and the respect of more experiences marine experts.

 

He has now set up The Ocean Cleanup Foundation to raise funds to develop his innovation.

 

Boyan Slat's ocean cleanup project

 

The Ocean Cleanup project is to develop technologies to extract, prevent, and intercept plastic pollution. The Ocean Cleanup’s goal is to fuel the world’s fight against oceanic plastic pollution, by initiating the largest cleanup in history. Small scale model tests indicated The Ocean Cleanup Boom to perform significantly better than conventional booms, while deploying a 40 m long boom near the Azores showed that a boom can capture and concentrate plastic pollution.  The ocean cleanup campaign started on Apr 05 and closed on May 05, 2013 (11:59pm PT). $89,518USD was raised of $80,000 goal.

 

18-year-old Boyan Slat came up with a concept that may be able to remove vast amounts of plastics from the oceans. "I don't know if it's possible, and that's exactly the reason I'm doing it."

 

 

 

On 15 July 2013, USG Engineering Professionals in the Netherlands signed a partnership agreement with The Ocean Cleanup Foundation. The Ocean Cleanup came up with a method to extract seven billion kilograms of plastic from the oceans in just five years. USG Engineering Professionals will provide project management staffing for the feasibility study the foundation is currently performing.

‘The goal of The Ocean Cleanup and the method with which they aim to remove plastic waste from the oceans, are both highly appealing to us,’ says USG Engineering Professionals’ General Manager Bart Monster. Sustainability, technology, innovation and creativity are signature features that both parties have in common.
The Ocean Cleanup

The founder of The Ocean Cleanup is Boyan Slat, an Aerospace Engineering student at the Delft University of Technology. He came up with the idea for a recycling station that, within five years, will be able to extract seven billion kilograms of plastic from the oceans. The results of the feasibility study, which is currently underway, will decide whether or not Slat’s plans will continue to be implemented and executed.
The idea

The idea is to place stationary floating recycling stations in the ocean. The ocean currents will transport the debris in the direction of the stations. Long, floating booms act as giant funnels that will catch the debris but no fish and other marine life. The angle of the booms and the surface current then force the plastic in the direction of the platforms, where the debris is stored in containers until collected for recycling on land.

The Ocean Cleanup Array will be highly energy efficient because most work is done by the ocean currents, and the platforms will receive additional energy from the sun and waves. Not all plastic in the oceans can be extracted this way, but it is estimated that approximately one third of global ocean surfaces plastic pollution can be cleaned up: this adds up to over seven billion kilograms.

 

 

 

 

 

CONTACTS

 

The Ocean Cleanup
Stevinweg 1
2628 CN Delft
The Netherlands

 

www.TheOceanCleanup.com
www.twitter.com/TheOceanCleanup
www.facebook.com/TheOceanCleanup

 

https://www.facebook.com/boyanslat  https://twitter.com/boyanslat

 

https://www.indiegogo.com/

 

INDIEGOGO CONTACTS

 

Explore  How It Works  Start your campaign

 

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-ocean-cleanup-feasibility-study

 

LE HUFFINGTON POST, QUEBEC

 

Grâce au financement participatif, un jeune Néerlandais de 20 ans a réussi à amasser plus de 2 millions de dollars pour lancer la première phase de son projet qui vise à recueillir les tonnes d'objets de plastique qui polluent les océans.

 

De la persévérance, de la passion, de l'ambition et une bonne maîtrise des médias sociaux : tel est le secret du succès de l'opération de Boyan Slat, qui s'est donné la mission, ni plus ni moins, de nettoyer les océans.

 

Et depuis lundi, il peut dire, en partie, « mission accomplie ». En 100 jours, quelque 38 000 donateurs de 160 pays ont contribué à sa campagne de financement participatif sur le web, lui permettant d'amasser 2 154 282 $US.

 

Grâce au financement participatif, un jeune Néerlandais de 20 ans a réussi à amasser plus de 2 millions de dollars pour lancer la première phase de son projet qui vise à recueillir les tonnes d'objets de plastique qui polluent les océans.

 

De la persévérance, de la passion, de l'ambition et une bonne maîtrise des médias sociaux : tel est le secret du succès de l'opération de Boyan Slat, qui s'est donné la mission, ni plus ni moins, de nettoyer les océans.

 

Et depuis lundi, il peut dire, en partie, « mission accomplie ». En 100 jours, quelque 38 000 donateurs de 160 pays ont contribué à sa campagne de financement participatif sur le web, lui permettant d'amasser 2 154 282 $US.

 

Son projet, The Ocean Cleanup, pourra donc faire un autre pas en avant. Pour amasser les détritus qui se regroupent naturellement en « continents de déchets », le jeune homme et son équipe ont mis au point un système qui utilise les courants marins naturels afin de recueillir les débris de plastique dans de longues barrières flottantes qui forment un espèce d'entonnoir géant. Elles sont peu coûteuses et respectueuses de l'environnement.

 

Les barrières sont conçues pour retenir les déchets en surface, tout en laissant aux animaux marins l'espace nécessaire pour circuler en dessous. Les déchets qui sont ainsi amassés doivent ensuite être recueillis par bateau, à des intervalles de plus au moins deux mois.

 

Une phase de tests à grande échelle du système qu'il a mis au point pour débarrasser les eaux des encombrants déchets de plastique sera donc enclenchée sous peu. Il souhaite ensuite, dans un horizon de 3 ans, avoir une installation de nettoyage opérationnelle.

 

Son projet, The Ocean Cleanup, pourra donc faire un autre pas en avant. Pour amasser les détritus qui se regroupent naturellement en « continents de déchets », le jeune homme et son équipe ont mis au point un système qui utilise les courants marins naturels afin de recueillir les débris de plastique dans de longues barrières flottantes qui forment un espèce d'entonnoir géant. Elles sont peu coûteuses et respectueuses de l'environnement.

 

Les barrières sont conçues pour retenir les déchets en surface, tout en laissant aux animaux marins l'espace nécessaire pour circuler en dessous. Les déchets qui sont ainsi amassés doivent ensuite être recueillis par bateau, à des intervalles de plus au moins deux mois.

 

Une phase de tests à grande échelle du système qu'il a mis au point pour débarrasser les eaux des encombrants déchets de plastique sera donc enclenchée sous peu. Il souhaite ensuite, dans un horizon de 3 ans, avoir une installation de nettoyage opérationnelle.

 

D'ici dix ans, Boyan Slat aimerait en arriver à nettoyer ce qu'on appelle le vortex de déchets du Pacifique Nord, une immense zone de déchets flottants au large des côtes californiennes.

 

 

 

 

UN JEUNE PHENOMENE

Boyan Slat commence à s'intéresser au problème de la pollution des eaux par le plastique lors de vacances, en 2011, en Grèce, à l'âge de 16 ans. Il est outré de constater, lors d'une sortie en plongée, qu'il voit plus de sacs de plastique que de poissons.

 

Le jeune homme est alors au secondaire, et décide de se consacrer à la recherche sur la pollution par le plastique et les solutions possibles pour arriver à s'en débarrasser.

 

Après avoir écarté plusieurs projets jugés trop polluants ou trop peu efficaces, il présente en 2012 son concept de nettoyage passif à une grande conférence sur les idées novatrices, le TEDxDelft.

 

Il abandonne plus tard des études en génie aérospatial afin de se consacrer à son projet, et une première campagne de financement participatif lui permet de s'entourer de quelque 100 experts pour en arriver à publier, en juin 2014, une exhaustive étude de faisabilité.

 

 

 

 

DER SPIEGEL ONLINE OCT 2014 - Plastikmüll: 20-Jähriger will die Ozeane retten - für sechs Milliarden Euro

 

An einem Mittwochmittag im September steht der Niederländer Boyan Slat, 20, am Hafenbecken von Rotterdam und presst sich ein Walkie-Talkie ans Ohr. Der Wind pfeift, der Empfang ist schlecht, Slat kneift die Augen zusammen. "Können wir zur Erasmusbrücke übersetzen?", fragt er den Hafenmeister. Aus dem Funkgerät rauscht und knackt es, dann sagt eine abgehackte Stimme: "Negativ, zu viel Verkehr, bitte warten."

Slat, der ausgewaschene Jeans trägt und Turnschuhe mit zu langen Schnürsenkeln, verzieht das jungenhafte Gesicht. Hinter ihm liegt eine 40 Meter lange Kunststoffbarriere, die aussieht wie ein riesiger Schlauch. Über drei Stunden haben er und 15 Helfer gebraucht, sie aufzublasen. Jetzt sollte das Ungetüm eigentlich längst auf dem Wasser schwimmen und bei der Müllentsorgung helfen.

Der Versuch in Rotterdam ist Teil einer Reihe von Experimenten, die Slat in den kommenden Jahren durchführen will, um seinem großen Ziel näherzukommen. Was der ehemalige Student der Luft- und Raumfahrttechnik vorhat, steht in fetten Lettern auf seinem T-Shirt: "The Ocean Cleanup" - die Ozeansäuberung. Slat und sein Team träumen davon, den Plastikmüll einzusammeln, der in den vergangenen Jahrzehnten über Strände, Flüsse und Schiffe in die Weltmeere gelangte.

16,6 Millionen Tonnen Müll allein auf dem Pazifik

Es ist strittig, um wie viel Abfall es sich genau handelt, aber allein auf dem Pazifik, den Slat als Erstes aufräumen will, treiben wohl etwa 16,6 Millionen Tonnen. Natürlich könnte man das Zeug auch mit Tausenden Schiffen abholen. Doch leider ist der Zivilisationsmüll durch Wind und Ozeanströmung ständig in Bewegung; eine Barriere, in der sich das Kunststofftreibgut nach und nach verfängt, wäre also sinnvoller - und auf Dauer viel günstiger, dachte sich Slat.

Am Computer hat er daher eine Anlage mit zwei jeweils 50 Kilometer langen Fangarmen entwickelt, die in V-Form auf der Wasseroberfläche treiben und bis zu 4000 Meter tief am Meeresgrund verankert sind. An den Barrieren sind bewegliche Vorhänge befestigt, die Abfall auffangen und zu einer Plattform im Zentrum leiten sollen; Fische könnten problemlos darunter durchschwimmen, behauptet Slat. Im Zentrum der Anlage wird der Müll in einen riesigen Container befördert, der achtmal im Jahr geleert werden soll. Betrieben wird die gesamte Vorrichtung mit Solarstrom, so die Theorie.

Die Fläche, um die sich die Aufräumer als Erstes kümmern wollen, ist etwa doppelt so groß wie Deutschland. Langfristiges Ziel ist aber, nach und nach alle Weltmeere vom Plastikmüll zu befreien. Slat nimmt an, dass man dafür mindestens 24 Anlagen braucht. Die erste soll 2020 fertig sein und 246 Millionen Euro kosten, die anderen wären wohl ähnlich teuer: Es könnten also Gesamtkosten in Höhe von etwa sechs Milliarden Euro entstehen.

Slat nennt das "ein Schnäppchen", verglichen mit den Schäden, die der Plastikmüll der Umwelt zufüge. Jedes Jahr sterben Millionen Seevögel und Fische, weil sie von dem Abfall fressen. Deswegen hofft der Erfinder, der noch bei seiner Mutter wohnt, dass sich möglichst viele Staaten zur Finanzierung der Anlage zusammentun. Zumal ein Großteil des Plastikmülls recycelt und zur Ölgewinnung genutzt werden soll.

 

 

 

 

Boyan war schon als Kind anders

Es ist kurz vor 16 Uhr, als das Walkie-Talkie an Slats Hosenbund wieder piept. Der Hafenmeister ist dran. Die Wasserstraße sei nun für einige Minuten frei, sagt er. Slat ruft seine Mitarbeiter zusammen, die alle deutlich älter sind als er. Auf einer Papiertafel skizziert er mit zackigen Handbewegungen den Ablauf der nächsten Stunden.

Slat will die Kunststoffbarriere ans Boot ketten, zur Brücke schleppen und mit Seilen zwischen zwei Pfeiler spannen. Dann soll ein Helfer 30 Meter von der Barriere entfernt Plastikflaschen, Flaschendeckel und Bojen ins Wasser werfen. "Im besten Fall fängt die Barriere alles auf", sagt Slat.

Zehn Minuten später haben zehn Männer die Barriere von der Hafenmauer ins Wasser gewuchtet und am Boot befestigt. Der Skipper wirft den Motor an, Slat springt an Bord. "Kann losgehen", ruft er.

Slat wurde 1994 in Delft geboren, Geschwister hat er keine. "Schon als kleiner Junge war Boyan anders als andere Kinder. Er wollte nicht nur spielen. Er wollte wissen, wie Dinge funktionieren", sagt seine Mutter. In der Schule sei ihr Sohn ein Außenseiter gewesen. Das habe sich erst geändert, als er auf eine bilinguale Schule kam, in der fast alle Fächer in Englisch unterrichtet wurden, und Slat Klassenkameraden fand, die ähnlich intelligent waren wie er.

Mehr als zwei Millionen Euro - dank Facebook und Twitter

Die Idee zu seinem Projekt kam dem Überflieger 2012, in seinem letzten Highschool-Jahr. Weil er bei einem Tauchurlaub in Griechenland so viel Plastik im Meer gesehen hatte, dachte er sich für eine Facharbeit eine Vorrichtung aus, die helfen könnte. "Das Teil hätte nie funktioniert", sagt Slat. Doch der Gedanke ließ ihn nicht mehr los. Er las Dutzende Bücher über Meereskunde, machte Skizzen, sprach mit Experten.

Im Oktober darauf stellte er sein Projekt bei einer Veranstaltung an der Uni vor. Slat wirkte enthusiastisch, charismatisch, wortgewandt. Er sagte Sätze wie "Veränderung ist wichtiger als Geld" und zeigte Bilder von toten Vögeln, die Plastikfeuerzeuge für Futter gehalten hatten. Über 1,6 Millionen Menschen sahen das Video bei YouTube - so dauerte es nicht lange, bis auch die Medien von seinem Plan erfuhren. "Die Aufmerksamkeit brach wie eine Riesenwelle über uns herein", sagt Slat, der Anfang 2013 sein Studium schmiss, um sich ganz und gar der Meeresrettung zu widmen.

Als er im selben Jahr einen ersten Test auf den Azoren ankündigte, sammelte er binnen zwei Wochen 90.000 Euro ein. Mitte September dieses Jahres hatte er nach einer Crowdfunding-Kampagne in weniger als hundert Tagen über zwei Millionen Dollar zusammen - gestiftet von 38.000 Gönnern. "Es ist abgefahren", sagt Slat, "ohne Facebook und Twitter hätten wir aber nie so viele Menschen erreicht." 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LINKS & REFERENCE

 

Wikipedia Marine_debris

National Geographic 2014 July ocean-plastic-debris-trash-pacific-garbage-patch

Plastic Soup News Blogspot 2014_July

Paris Match Environnement Boyan Slat le sauveur des oceans

Deep sea news 2014 July the ocean cleanup part 2 technical review of the feasibility study

Indiegogo projects the ocean cleanup feasibility study

Wikipedia Boyan_Slat

Virgin richard-branson what-can-we-do-to-protect-and-restore-the-ocean

Segel Reporter meeresverschmutzung-der-19jahrige-boyan-slat-treibt-sein-oceancleanup-mit-crowdfunding-voran

USG people news 2013 July engineering signs agreement with the ocean cleanup

http://www.usgpeople.com/press-media/news/2013/07/17/usg-engineering-signs-agreement-with-the-ocean-cleanup

http://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/what-can-we-do-to-protect-and-restore-the-ocean-0

http://www.spiegel.de/unispiegel/jobundberuf/plastikmuell-in-ozeanen-student-boyan-slat-hat-einen-rettungsplan-a-998938.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boyan_Slat

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-29631332

http://www.theoceancleanup.com/

http://www.boyanslat.com/

http://quebec.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/09/17/the-ocean-cleanup-boyan-slat-nettoyer-oceans-plastique_n_5834594.html

http://www.tedxdelft.nl/2013/10/boyan-slat-back-on-stage/

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-ocean-cleanup-feasibility-study

http://deepseanews.com/2014/07/the-ocean-cleanup-part-2-technical-review-of-the-feasibility-study/

http://www.plasticoceans.net/the-foundation/

http://www.greatrecovery.org.uk/

http://seaplexscience.com/

http://abundantseas.org/

http://www.gyrecleanup.org/cleanup-plan/

(German) Tobias Finger: The Ocean Cleanup – Dieser Student will die Weltmeere vom Plastikmüll befreien, WiWo Green, 24 Juni 2014

Caroline Winter (September 16, 2014), This Dutch Wunderkind Now Has the Funds to Build His Ocean Cleanup Machine, Bloomberg Businessweek

(German) Josephine Pabst: Idee eines 20-Jährigen könnte die Ozeane entmüllen, Die Welt, 24 October 2014

Vibeke Venema (17 Oct 2014), The Dutch boy mopping up a sea of plastic, BBC news

2014 Laureate, United Nations Environment Programme, 2014. Retrieved on 17 November 2014.

 

 

 

 

COMPETITION  - Ocean plastic waste is such a huge problem that the idea of competing against each other goes out of the window. Planet earth needs everyone to muck and and do their bit. Boyan's system is passive, while SeaVax is an active system. The technology could work hand in hand to help make our oceans a cleaner place.

 

Our love affair with plastic is choking the oceans. Once people know about it, they want to stop it. But how and who? BMS has teamed up with the Cleaner Oceans (Planet) Trust to raise funds to build and test a full size prototype. Cleaner Planet Trust is a charitable, not for profit organization governed by Trustees. Click on the picture above to read more >>>>>>

 

 

  

 

OCTOBER 4 2013 - A very special moment (left) for the audience: after a year of virtual media silence, Boyan Slat is back on the TEDxDelft stage to be interviewed by host Sipke Jan Bousema. His talk from last year – “How the oceans can clean themselves” – passed a million views on YouTube an hour before he comes on stage at TEDxDelft 2013. He’s modest about it, when Sipke Jan asks him how that feels: “it’s ok.”

So how did it all get started? Two and a half years ago, Boyan read about plastic pollution. There is 30 times more plastic in the middle of the ocean than there is naturally occurring plankton and nothing was being done about it. He decided to write his final assignments for secondary school on the subject. He won a prize for his assignment and this was reported in a local paper. He got invited to TEDxDelft 2012, and two months later his talk had been viewed some 3,000 times. So far so good. But then, on 1 April 2013, another newspaper article appeared and the media exploded.

Boyan finds it hard to control the media, and confesses to have great respect for Kim Jong Il and the Chinese government, who seem to be expert at this. Boyan is adamant he wants to get the scientific data right before going public. Though 99 % of the feedback he received was positive, one guy insisted it was not feasible, says Boyan. Moreover, he said that if you tell people you can clean up the oceans, you give them an excuse to keep polluting. But that is not what the Ocean Clean-up is about. “We have to close the tap of pollution first.”

Yet the public attention also helped. Through crowd funding, he raised 80,000 dollars, enough to start the research. Since July he and his team have been scale modelling and analysing half a ton of actual plastic ocean waste. He expects the feasibility study on his solution to be ready by February 2014. Can you tell us anything more about the results, insists Sipke Jan. But Boyan is even more insistent: He won’t give us any details, because there is the potential of another hype. “We want to get a scientific article out first.”  Ref: Agaath Diemel

 

 

 

TSUSHIMA ISLAND, KOREA STRAIT - The Ocean Cleanup Array pilot will feature floating booms spanning some 2000 meters (1.2 miles) across the surface of the water, which would be "the longest floating structure ever deployed in the ocean," according to the project website. Assuming all goes according to plan, and the array is able to effectively extract floating ocean plastic during the pilot project, the organization plans to deploy a "62-mile-long array that will be capable of capturing about half of the trash in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch" over the course of a decade, according to Al Jazeera.

 

 

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