Dutch Inventor Boyan Slat Dubbed The ‘Boy Genius’ Has Created Solar-Powered Barges That Help Clean Rivers

Over the past couple years, a young man with a mission has amazed the world with his revolutionary attempt to clean the ocean. It all started when Boyan Slat went on an eye-opening diving trip to Greece when he was just 16. Instead of being wowed by the wonders of the underwater world, he was instead mortified to see more plastic than fish. After seeing the disturbingly alarming shift in the underwater ecosystem, Boyan decided that he wanted to do something about that. And two years after his shocking diving trip, he established The Ocean Cleanup, a non-profit engineering environmental organization that’s literally doing the largest cleanup in history!

His organization’s first project was focused on chipping away at the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Slat and his fellows went on to create a passive floating device that basically scoops up garbage in the water. This initiative certainly wowed and inspired many to become more conscious towards mitigating their own effect on the environment. Single-use plastic straws, for one, have been replaced with more sustainable options or eschewed entirely. But this isn’t enough for Boyan. Eventually, he realized that stopping the source of the relentless trash might be a more effective way of battling the problem. And so, the Interceptor came to be.

 

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The Ocean Cleanup

 

an ocean cleanup ship collects a tangle of discarded nets

The Ocean Cleanup

 

In a bid to stop the plastic pollution from its source, The Ocean Cleanup organization introduced the Interceptor

We’ve all been taught that rivers connect to the ocean. Urban life has tainted rivers. So The Ocean Cleanup team created a barge that’s both going to mitigate (and hopefully stop!) the trash from flowing into the ocean. During the unveiling event, Boyan said,

boyan slat introduces the Interceptor

The Ocean Cleanup

 

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“To truly rid the oceans of plastic, we need to both clean up the legacy and close the tap, preventing more plastic from reaching the oceans in the first place.”

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The Ocean Cleanup

 

interceptor 002 in malaysia

The Ocean Cleanup

“Combining our Ocean Cleanup technology with the Interceptor, the solutions now exist to address both sides of the equation.”

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The Ocean Cleanup

 

boyan slat stands on the Interceptor as it collects garbage from the riverbed

The Ocean Cleanup

The Ocean Cleanup’s latest invention takes the form of a modern barge, complete with solar panels and lithium-ion batteries that allow it to work without emissions. This scaled down plastic purger can reportedly extract 50,000kg to 100,000kg of trash every day. Furthermore, it also boasts a fully autonomous design that removes the need for manpower and manual work! An internet-connected computer oversees the barge’s overall performance and status.

the interceptor collecting garbage from Klang River's riverbed

The Ocean Cleanup

 

The Ocean Cleanup plans to deploy Interceptors in 1,000 rivers which they found to be largely responsible for the ocean’s pollution

According to the group, they have already built four units of this river-cleaning invention. Malaysia and Indonesia are the first to put this garbage-sucking barge to work. Interceptor 001 is currently retrieving embedded debris in the depths of Cengkareng Drain in Jakarta, Indonesia. Intercepter 002, on the other hand, is working to clean the Klang River in Selangor, Malysia. The third Interceptor will be cleaning Can Tho in Mekong Delta, Vietnam. And finally, the fourth unit will be placed along the Santo Domingo river in Dominican Republic. Thailand has also signed up to have an Interceptor in Bangkok. LA County has also expressed their interest in investing on an Interceptor.

bird's eyeview of the Interceptor in Malaysia

The Ocean Cleanup

“Though we still have much work to do, I am eternally grateful for the team’s commitment and dedication to the mission and look forward to continuing the next phase of development,” Slat shared.

anchored interceptor

The Ocean Cleanup

 

You can help clean up the ocean

boyan slat poses with some ocean debri collected by the ocean cleanup

The Ocean Cleanup

 

Explanation video

Despite their renown, the organization continues to welcome insight from the public. If you know that your home country’s got a polluted river, you can bring the organization’s attention. This will definitely help them in their war against trash! You can also donate $50 to their cause via their website.

Source: The Ocean Clean Up