More than 320 million metric tons of plastic are produced every year, and a lot of it accumulates in the oceans.
At age 16, Dutch innovator Boyan Slat decided he wanted to tackle the problem. At age 19, Slat founded The Ocean Cleanup, a nonprofit that aims to rid the oceans of plastic.
Slat eventually proposed a massive cleanup device that could collect plastic from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a trash-filled vortex that's more than twice the size of Texas.
The first version of the tool was deployed in the Pacific Ocean in 2018, but began spilling the plastic it had collected.
An improved device, which launched in June 2019, has an underwater parachute to help slow the system down so that it can better retain plastic. In December 2019, the group successfully hauled 60 bags of plastic debris into Vancouver.
Slat will be on stage at the Business Insider Global Trends Festival, a virtual event taking place October 19-23, for his Wednesday talk "The Largest Cleanup in History."
More sustainability-focused programming will follow, including sessions on plant-based meat alternatives going mainstream with Stuart Kronauge, CMO, Beyond Meat, and on sustainable finance with Sergio P. Ermotti, Group CEO, UBS.
See the full schedule for the event here.
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Aria Bendix and Peter Kotecki contributed to this report.
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