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Plastics crusader continues winning streak

The Netherlands – Young entrepreneur Boyan Slat, founder of Ocean Cleanup, has won a prestigious Champion of the Earth environmental accolade conferred by the United Nations. Slat has received the ‘Inspiration and Action award’ for his efforts to mobilise support to rid the oceans of plastic waste.

According to recently-published feasibility research, Ocean Cleanup estimates that almost half the plastic build-up known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch can be removed in 10 years using Slat′s technology. Slat was still in secondary school when he came up with the idea of utilising natural ocean currents and winds to passively concentrate and transport floating plastic along solid barriers towards a central collection platform.

′According to UNEP research, conservative estimates of the overall financial damage of plastics to marine ecosystems now stand at US$ 13 billion each year,′ noted UN under-secretary-general and UNEP executive director Achim Steiner. He hailed the Dutch entrepreneur as ′a great inspiration′ to people as well as businesses and governments to tackle the ‘escalating threat’ of plastic debris in the oceans.

Slat has also made the list of the 20 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs Worldwide compiled by Intel EYE50. These accolades follow the aerospace and engineering expert′s raising of more than US$ 2 million in crowdfunding backing from approximately 38 000 supporters in 160 countries around the world.

Slat himself says he is ′incredibly excited and honoured′ by the ongoing appreciation of his efforts. ′Although we are still several years away from implementing the technology, I′m truly grateful that our hard work is already being recognised,′ he says. ′We′ll continue to do our utmost to fulfill the expectations, and initiate the largest ocean cleanup in history.′

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