LISTEN to this Good News Guru story, as broadcast on the radio with Ellen K and Geri on KOST-103.5. (Subscribe to our new podcast on iTunes – or for Androids, on Podbean) — or Read the story below

Do you remember the teenager who six years ago invented a machine that he said could get rid of the plastic that was gathering in the ocean?

Well, just in time for Earth Day, the young Dutch genius announced that he is almost ready to launch his ground-breaking initiative designed to purge the seas of the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch.”

This patch is a massive island of trash drifting halfway between California and Hawaii. Over a trillion pieces of debris have collected there because of the swirling vortex of current—a floating mass roughly twice the size of Texas.

After discovering the patch in the 90s, scientists said it would take thousands of years to clean it up—but Boyan Slat said in his TEDx talk that he could do it in less than ten, if he could get his special machinery built.

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Though his claim caused many skeptics to raise their eyebrows, Slat dropped out of college so he could bring his plans to life. In addition to crowdfunding $2.2 million for his idea, he garnered millions more dollars through interested investors.

His nonprofit Ocean Cleanup Project now employs 70 engineers, researchers, and scientists — all dedicated to cleansing the sea of plastic.

After patiently conducting years of research, they are launching 60 custom-built trash-picker-uppers out of the San Francisco Bay to start collecting the rubbish in July.

Each floating machine is essentially a mile-long screen that harnesses the ocean’s currents to passively collect floating trash of all sizes without using large amounts of energy or resources. Since the screen stays on the surface, fish can pass underneath without being harmed.

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With boats arriving to clean up the trash every six to eight weeks, Slat estimates that half of the patch will be collected in five years.

This Dutch boy wasn’t satisfied to just hold his finger in the dam of disaster. He rebuilt the dam to his own specifications.

“The cleanup of the world’s oceans is just around the corner,” he declared— and he is “confident” they will succeed.

(WATCH the video below)

Clean Up Negativity: Click To Share The Story With Your Friends – Photos by The Ocean Cleanup Project


  1. I cannot say how much I love what this guy is doing….thanks to imagination & youthful energy, and watching a great brain function just the way it should, we may save our oceans….and if he becomes a billionaire in the process that’s a bonus, but his true value is to us all – long live this beautiful blue orb & may we all learn to cherish it !

  2. Wonderful and such a caring human being. Go after the hospitals. They use more plastic cups per patient than anything I can think of. I just spent 2 days there and could not believe the waste.

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