Boyan Slat is a handsome guy, as you can see. But, more importantly, he is a problem solver.

Off the western coast of the United States lies a gigantic floating mass of plastic and garbage. It even has it’s own name, the great Pacific garbage patch. I wish we were making this up. 

Oceanic currents are responsible for the location of the patch, and we’re all responsible for the contents. Currently, the patch is over twice the size of Texas. Sounds like a gigantic problem. If only someone could come up with  a creative solution…

Here’s Boyan Slat, the hero of this story. This guy decided when he was 16 that he would be the one to clean up the great pacific garbage patch. 

Boyan Slat founded the Ocean Cleanup in 2013 at the age of 18. Together with a group of engineers, scientists, and researchers, the team has developed a fleet of machines that travel the ocean currents collecting plastic and trash along the way. This past year, after many failed attempts,  the team had their first successful test run. 

Along with cleaning up the existing pollution, Boyan and his team are also attacking the source. Most oceanic trash comes from rivers around the world that feed into the sea. By installing his plastic “interceptors” at the mouths of highly populated rivers, Boyan hopes to stop trash from ever reaching the ocean in the first place.

Want to get involved? The plastic that is removed from the garbage patch will eventually be turned into reusable goods that the public can purchase to help support the project. Check it out here.