A clean sweep for the Pacific

Since 2013, Boyan Slat has been working on his dream to rid the Pacific Ocean of the large amounts of waste plastic polluting it. During that time, the 24-year-old Dutch TU Delft student has become famous for his initiative The Ocean Cleanup, that tackles the so-called ‘plastic soup’.



The cleaning system consists of a 600m-long tube that floats on the water, carrying below it a three-metre ’skirt’. The whole contraption then floats around the ocean, driven by currents and wind, gathering plastic rubbish as it moves. With this method – according to The Ocean Cleanup – 50% of the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ could be cleaned every five years.

In early September last year, a tugboat pulled the ingenious floating device under the Golden Gate bridge, in San Fransisco, to the open sea, marking the start of the clean-up operation. As a contribution to the effort, BMW has supplied Boyan Slat and the support teams in the Netherlands, with i3 fully- electric cars to use for the coming year. “At BMW i, as an incubator for innovations, we also keep pushing the boundaries of sustainability, even beyond the car”, said Dr Robert Irlinger, head of BMW i. “We are delighted to support The Ocean Cleanup on its mission, because we share the same mindset.”

A clean sweep for the Pacific

A clean sweep for the Pacific / Boyan Slat, the Dutch student whose innovative scheme aims to rid the Pacific of its ‘plastic soup’, is now running a BMW i3 all-electric car.

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