Under the BWSC theme ‘Dream bigger. Go farther,’ Bridgestone supports challengers in achieving their dreams.
Let us introduce a young man who is fighting to change the world with his solar-powered project.

A high-schooler is changing the world?! Make the ocean cleaner with solar energy and ocean currents ‘The Ocean Cleanup’.

The disposal of waste in the ocean has been considered as one of the major global issues. Approximately 8 million tons of plastic lands in the ocean every year. There is a young man who has been working to tackle this global-scale environmental issue.

A waste collecting system operated with clean energy

The Dutch inventor Boylan Slat was a high school student when he came up with ‘The Ocean Cleanup’--a solar-powered system that can collect and recycle large volumes of waste. The system consists of a 600m long floater that is placed in a U shape at the surface of the water and a 3-metre-deep scirt attached below. Wind and the currents propel the system, which in turn gather plastics on the inside of the system. Solar energy is then used to move a plastic-catching device. The system is designed in such a way that it will not cause harm to the existing ecosystem; as the impenetrable screen allows the current to flow underneath the system, aquatic creatures can swim away without getting trapped in the device.
Not only does ‘The Ocean Cleanup’ operate at 1/33 of the cost of the conventional waste collecting devices involving ships and nets, but it also gathers waste 7,900 times faster than the existing waste disposal machines.

A high-schooler’s dream saves the Ocean

Having felt shocked to find more plastics than fish when he went swimming in Greece at the age of 16, Boyan Slat founded a research organisation ‘The Ocean Cleanup’ and presented the idea of the system at TED at the age of 18. Boyan’s powerful speech moved people all over the world, which led to successful fundraising results; the $2 million donations were used to carry out the project in Tsushima, North Sea and San Francisco.

He is making his dream come true with solar energy

‘The Ocean Cleanup Foundation’ was later established to place the system at the Great Pacific Garbage Patch located between Hawaii and California. This ongoing plan aims to reduce 50% of the Pacific waste. It has also been decided that ‘The Ocean Cleanup’ will be implemented on a global scale in 2020.