dws-unep-award-boyan-slat-logo-770pxDutchman Boyan Slat has become the youngest ever winner of the United Nations’ environmental flagship award, the Champions of the Earth, for his inspirational work on the removal of plastic from the world’s oceans.

Just 19 years old, Slat won the award in the category inspiration and action.

The Champions of the Earth Award recognizes outstanding visionaries and leaders in the fields of policy, science, entrepreneurship, and civil society action.

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) announced this year's winners for five different categories in Nairobi, Kenia, on 7 November.

Awards ceremony
Winners will be honoured by UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki-moon and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner at an awards ceremony attended by UNEP Goodwill Ambassador Gisele Bundchen at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. on 19 November 2014.

dws-unep-award-slat-clean-up-concept-350px  Impression of the concept with floating booms for the passive collection of the plastic and the platform to remove it from the ocean.

Floating barriers to collect plastic
Boyan Slat is founder of the innovative The Ocean Cleanup initiative. He was still in secondary school when he came up with the idea of utilizing the natural ocean currents and winds to passively concentrate and transport floating plastic along solid floating barriers towards a central collection platform.

Inspiring other people
Announcing the award, in a statement the UN’s Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said: “Boyan Slat is inspiring people, organizations and governments to find solutions to the escalating threat of plastic debris in our oceans, while also serving as a reminder to us all that more work needs to be done to improve the capacity of all countries to better manage solid waste and to make production and consumption patterns far more sustainable so that we produce less waste, and put less pressure on our increasingly degraded oceans."

Other achievements
Slat has also been recognized as one of the 20 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs Worldwide by Intel EYE50. Slat’s presentation at TEDxDelft 2012 has been viewed by over 1.6 million people and he has managed to raise over 2 million USD through crowdfunding (with the support of over 38,000 funders from 160 countries) to fund the next phase of The Ocean Cleanup initiative.

This news item was originally published on the website of UNEP.

Also read on this website
● Crowdfunding reached goal: 2 million dollars for prototype to clean oceans from plastics, 11 September 2014

More information
UNEP Champions of the Earth
Nairobi, Kenia
+ 254 20 762 12 34

The Ocean Cleanup
Delft, the Netherlands