Give in to Hope Day 46: Boyan Slat

When Boyan Slat was 16, he went scuba diving on a family vacation and was horrified to see more plastic than fish during his time underwater. The image stayed with him, and he spent a lot of time both learning about how plastics accumulate in the water, why people have felt they were nearly impossible to clean up and if there might be any way to rid our waters of plastic. By 19, he has founded a clean-water non-profit and began fundraising to put his water cleaning devices into production. He came up with prototypes (models) of a water clean-up system that used the currents in the ocean to naturally move plastics into nets, and then into a filtration system, to sort plastics from fish, sea creatures, and plant life. This process was not easy, and many funders and scientists felt that it wasn’t realistic. The first test models were made, and many of them broke. But Boyan and his team did not give up. He retooled his plans to instead focus on cleaning up polluted rivers, rather than the vast, open ocean, and his newest clean-up device, the Interceptor, was finally revealed and successful! Currently, there are interceptor devices cleaning plastics out of rivers in 4 countries, with plans for many more. Rather than give up, Boyan adapted, looked at the problem from different angles, tried different solutions, and stayed focused on his goal–any positive impact on the pollution of our water was a success. Boyan remains hopeful that significant portions of the plastics currently in our water can be removed, and the nonprofit he founded is also committed to stopping the entrance of new plastics into our water system from here on out!

To learn more about Boyan Slat:

What are your favorite things to do in or on the water? What are your favorite animals and creatures that live in or near water? How does plastic in oceans, lakes, and rivers impact activities and living things?

Closing prayer: Dear God, let us be creative, committed, positive and focused as we work to create change in the world. Amen.