Don’t Worry. The Founder of “The Ocean Cleanup” Says it Will Return Despite Initial Setbacks

Ocean Cleanup founder, Boyan Slat, recognizes his device didn’t work as planned when he set out to collect ocean plastic the end of last year.


But he’s not hearing any more garbage about his plan. Instead, he’s moving forward.

The Ocean Cleanup system is getting towed to Hawaii for repairs to an end section that detached while in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Meanwhile, a study of data should reveal what went wrong.

Later this year, Slat will redeploy.


From his office in The Netherlands, Slat told Forbes,

“We think the fastest way to clean the ocean is to learn by doing. We didn’t plan for it to break, but we always accounted for a possibility to take the system back in and out several times during this project.”

When asked about rumors that the project was done, he responded,

“Of course, that’s rubbish. This is just a bump in the road to success.”

Ocean Cleanup first launched from San Francisco, California, late last year, with a 2,000 foot long span called System 001. Several months later, it was reported the span was unable to pick up as much trash as planned due to slow speed.

The span had to return and that was when inspectors discovered one of the ends had also detached.


But once back in Hawaii, divers will make a full investigation of the system. That, along with terabytes of data, will help with making the upgrades necessary to relaunch.

Followers can be updated via regular blog posts.

Slat also said his funders are still on board. And, his clean up goals remain the same.

So far, in testing, System 001 has gathered approximately 4,400 pounds of plastic. After deploying, a new and improved 002 and 60 additional units will remove 50% of the garbage patch, with a 90 reduction in 2040.