“If you want to do something, do it as soon as possible.” -Boyan Slat
The Dutch born Boyan Slat doesn’t just say inspiration quotes, he lives them. At age 13, Slat set the Guinness World Record for most water rockets launched at the same time. From there, his ambition took off like one of those rockets leading him to become the founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup project by age 20.
Slat’s journey to becoming the founder of one of the largest clean-up projects in history began while diving in Greece at the age of 16. He noticed there were more plastic bags than fish in the ocean, which gave him an idea. Slat developed a science project that consisted of several floating barriers, connected to the seabed, that could capture and gather plastics littering the ocean surface, so they could be collected and recycled. The design uses the Ocean currents to do all of the dirty work, as they push the litter into the collection barriers, a task that would take humans thousands of years and billions of dollars. Seeing that the project had something special to it, Delft University of Technology awarded it with the Best Technical Design.
Slat continued to develop his project after the competition, eventually giving a Ted Talk on how it could work. The talk resonated with people around the world, going viral in the process. Slat started a Kickstarter campaign to make the project a reality, which easily reach it’s goal. Now two years later, Slat has a team of over 100 people working on implementing the project while also spinning the technology off to work on cleaning up rivers and streams as well. According to a 2014 study, the system could remove up to half of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 10 years.
Boyan Slat didn’t let his age get in the way of his big idea. Because of his decision to not delay, and pursue his vision and passion as soon as possible, the world could become a better pace to live in a shorter amount of time. Who knows what kind of good could be done if more teens followed Slat’s example and listened to his words: ”If you want to do something, do it as soon as possible.”
Contributed by Alex Anderson