All of us go through life-changing experiences from time to time, whether it’s our job or personal life. But some of us are inspired to change much more than just our own lives and strive for more global changes. That’s exactly how a Dutchman called Boyan Slat’s life got its purpose. He went on a diving trip to Greece when he was 16 and was appalled to see more plastic than fish on the coast and swore to himself he was going to do something about that. Little did he know, he would start The Ocean Cleanup project two years later and create a passive floating device that collects plastic. But he didn’t stop here and recently created these solar-powered barges to fish the plastic out of the rivers and prevent it from getting into the oceans.

Boyan Slat, a 25-year-old Dutch inventor and entrepreneur has been tackling the problem of ocean pollution since 2011

Boyan started The Ocean Cleanup with a mission to develop advanced technology that could rid the oceans of the plastic and particularly disassemble and clean the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a stretch of marine debris that stretches from California to Japan.

After he figured it’s best to start at the source, his nonprofit “The Ocean Cleanup” created this solar-powered barge that can clean 110 tons of garbage every day

The nonprofit managed to collect two shipping containers full of trash from the area over the years. But Boyan figured he’d rather turn to the source than try to solve the problem by “treating the symptoms”. The engineer and conservationist found out that the 1000 rivers around the world are the source of about 80 percent of the plastic that gets dumped into the oceans.

This could make a dramatic impact since apparently 80 percent of plastic that ends up in the oceans comes from the rivers

The Ocean Cleanup’s latest invention the “Inceptor” was created to tackle that problem. The solar-powered barge is created specifically to suck river debris into dumpsters and then bring it onshore for recycling.

The river-cleaning barge sucks river debris and brings it onshore to be recycled

One such barge can collect up to 110 tons of garbage that would otherwise get into the ocean waters every single day and therefore reduce the amount of waste that actually reaches the oceans drastically.

This way, the ocean pollution problem can be solved at the source and the plastic won’t reach the open ocean waters


It is hoped to have “Inceptor” barges in every one of the world’s most polluting rivers by 2025. But for now, they are already working towards cleaning the Klang River in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and the Cengkareng Drain in Jakarta, Indonesia.

“The Ocean Cleanup” also has a previous project that’s still ongoing which targets the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

“Our team has remained steadfast in its determination to solve immense technical challenges to arrive at this point,” Boyan said. “Though we still have much more work to do, I am eternally grateful for the team’s commitment and dedication to the mission and look forward to continuing to the next phase of development.”

Their passive floating device collects plastic and is predicted to clean half the patch in 5 years

Everyone can support The Ocean Cleanup’s mission by nominating their rivers and appealing to their local governments. You can also donate and therefore help more “Inceptors” to be built and placed in the rivers where they’re needed the most.


It uses the ocean current to do all of the work as the device floats freely and collects waste