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Boyan Slat: the man who went out to clean the oceans

As a teen, Boyan Slat went scuba diving in Greece and was shocked to see more plastic than fish in the ocean. Amazed that no-one made an attempt to fight pollution, he founded ‘The Ocean Cleanup’. Find out more about the young entrepreneur and his mission.




At the age of only 17, Boyan Slat established the Dutch non-profit organisation ‘The Ocean Cleanup’ in 2013. It currently employs a staff of 75 and develops technologies for concentrating and extracting plastic debris driven by ocean currents. The aim is to sell the plastic to companies that recycle it and sell it at a premium.

Initially, the idea did not gain traction because it would only clean 5% of the plastic in our oceans. However, after a video with Boyan presenting his ideas at a TEDx conference in 2012 went viral, he attracted thousands of volunteers and has raised more than USD 30 million in funds for the organisation’s cause since then. In 2014, Boyan won the Champions of the ‘Earth Award’ of the United Nations. 

In a recent interview at a Julius Baer Foundation event in London, he talked about his organisation’s work and aims.

The Julius Baer Foundation supports ‘The Ocean Cleanup’

After thorough evaluation of Boyan Slat’s project, the Julius Baer Foundation has established a partnership with ‘The Ocean Cleanup’. The cooperation is fully in line with the Foundation’s new strategy, in which one core area is ‘Recycling PLUS’.