Homework Helps Clean the Ocean

Friday, October 4, 2013 by Katie

Ever think homework assignments are pointless? Do you ever feel like you are wasting your time working on a project that doesn’t matter? Boyan Slat transformed a homework assignment into a solution to clean up the plastic problem in our world’s oceans.

I’m sure you have visited the beach and found small or large pieces of plastic lying in the sand. Have you gone for a walk and found a plastic bag on the side of the street or in a shopping center parking lot? The truth is that it’s not only the plastic found at the beach that enters the ocean. The plastic found on land easily makes its way into storm drains, rivers, and streams that will eventually lead into the Gulf of Maine. Over time, all the plastic accumulating in the oceans has become a huge problem. Much of the plastic floats and is picked up by currents which bring it to circulating mats of trash in the middle of the ocean, known as the “Great Garbage Patches”

Boyan was passionate about cleaning up the oceans and used his school project to start working on a solution! Using inspiration from his love of SCUBA diving, he designed garbage collectors that resemble giant manta rays. We can learn a lot from an animal’s shape, behavior, and adaptations. Take a look at the manta ray photo and compare it to Boyan’s invention in the article.

Manta Ray

Boyan predicts that his plastic collection idea can clean up the world’s plastic problem in 5 years without harming marine life! Check out his story here:



Boyan shared his idea at a TED conference that is now viewed worldwide:Video Player Here: http://youtu.be/ROW9F-c0kIQ

Is there a problem or challenge the Gulf of Maine faces that you might have a solution for?

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