Dutch inventor Boyan Slat (born in 1994) won the Champions of the Earth Award. His project ‘The Ocean Cleanup’ has made him the youngest winner ever of this award for inspiring environmental initiatives. The award is organised by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Slat wanted to tackle the so-called ‘plastic soup’ in the ocean and has come up with a V-shaped device with long floating arms, placed in strategic spots in the sea. All the floating plastic is driven towards one point, where his installation catches it for recycling.
He has already received more than two million dollars through crowd funding. Over the next year the money will be spent on testing bigger and bigger prototypes. In three to four years the inventor hopes to be able to install a full-sized device.
Slat took a break from his degree in aerospace engineering at Delft University of Technology to focus on the project. He now works with a team of around 100 people at ‘The Ocean Cleanup’.
See http://www.unep.org/champions/ for further details.