The Ocean Clean up is an environmental concept developed by a 20-year-old aerospace engineering student, Boyan Slat, and it has been shortlisted for this year's Design of the Year Award. The aim of the project is to clear the oceans of plastic gyres – floating islands made of millions of pieces of waste that accumulate where currents converge.
Slat's proposed solution consists of 100 km of static floating filters, which act as a barrier to collect waste where the collection process is driven only by natural forces, wind and currents. All the previous solutions involved vessels and nets, which are uneconomical and environmentally unsafe in the long run. The estimation predicts that Ocean Clean up will be 33 times less expensive than standard cleanup methods, and 7,900 times faster. Slat underlines the possibility of recycling large amounts of plastic or turning it into oil products, which would make the project sustainable.