The Ocean Is In Trouble; A High School Student From The Netherlands Has A Plan
Start writing a post

The Ocean Is In Trouble; A High School Student From The Netherlands Has A Plan

How one high school science project can turn into a highly successful company that makes a change for the better.

The Ocean Is In Trouble; A High School Student From The Netherlands Has A Plan

Have you ever thought about where your waste goes after you toss it into the garbage can? Or where the leftover food at a restaurant ends up?

One of the biggest environmental problems in the world right now is the vast amount of waste that humans produce. More specifically: municipal solid waste such as paper, plastic, food, product packaging, bottles, clothing, batteries, etc, that originate from our homes, schools, and workplaces. In 2015, about 137.7 million tons of MSW (municipal solid waste) were landfilled. Food was the largest component at about 22 percent. Plastics accounted for about 19 percent, paper and paperboard made up about 13 percent, and rubber, leather, and textiles comprised about 11 percent.

However, due to the lax standards in industrial processes, products that are not disposed of properly or escape during the transportation of MSW end up in the surrounding environments.

It's then deposited into oceans through forces of water, wind, and erosion and form giant clumps that float and congregate in certain places in the world. In the Philippines, for example, 2.7 million tons of plastic waste is generated annually and 20 percent – or half a million tons – of that leaks into the oceans, clogging drainage canals and swirling in waterways. One of the better-known sites for mass amounts of waste includes Manila Bay, which was ordered by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) in 2010 to be cleaned and restored to its former state.

In order to stop the copious amounts of waste humans accumulate from polluting the ocean, we must reduce the number of plastics and MSU we use in our day to day lives and in society as a whole. But, we also need to address the MSW that is already present in our ecosystems which is negatively affecting wildlife and disrupting the natural flow of energy within those ecosystems.

Boyan Slat, a young Dutch inventor and entrepreneur, created the company The Ocean Cleanup in which he is currently the running CEO. Slat wanted to come up with a way to gather all of the plastic/MSW crowded in the oceans and dispose of it properly. But, instead of going directly after the plastic, Slat devised a system though which, driven by the ocean currents, the plastic would concentrate, reducing the theoretical cleanup time from millennia to mere years.

It all started when Slat was sixteen and took a trip scuba diving in Greece, and he was surprised to see more plastic than fish. What began as a high school science project lead to a full-blown plan that he presented in a TEDx talk in 2012. After that, he dropped out of studying Aerospace Engineering at TU Delft and devoted all of his time to create The Ocean Cleanup. Since then, his TEDx presentation was picked up by lots of new sites and shown to thousands of people, and soon after the company took off.

Boyan Slat: How we will rid the oceans of plastic (May 2017)

In 2016 The Ocean Cleanup launched its first prototype in the North Sea and has been collecting steady data since then. The most recent milestone they've reached is their second cleanup system in June of 2019, which is still running to this day.

On October 26th, The Ocean Cleanup will be unveiling the new secret side project that they have been working on for four years to the public. In addition to Slats's current innovations, this new project will hopefully be another solution to the waste problems in our oceans. With young minds like Boyan Slat and the platforms of social media to spread awareness, there is hope that more ideas will be found, shared, and brought to life to help reduce the impact waste has on our world.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Robert Bye on Unsplash

I live by New York City and I am so excited for all of the summer adventures.

Keep Reading... Show less

The invention of photography

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.


The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers


Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series


Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?


Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments