Boyan Slat, a young Dutch inventor and engineer, has been on mission since his early teens to rid the world’s oceans of floating plastic. The idea came to him at the age of 16 when diving in Greece. “I saw more plastic bags than fish,” he says. And he set to at school devising a system and finding sponsors. “I don’t understand why ‘obsessive’ has a negative connotation, I’m an obsessive and I like it. I get an idea and I stick to it.”
Over the last 30 to 40 years, millions of tonnes of plastic have entered the oceans. Global production of plastic now stands at 288 million tonnes per year, of which 10% ends up in the ocean in time. 80% comes from land-based sources from drains and rivers. The plastic is carried by currents and congregates in five revolving water systems, the most infamous being the huge Pacific Garbage Patch, between Hawaii and California.
Born 27 July 1994 in Delft, he became interested in engineering from a very young age, building tree houses, then zip-wires, then rocketry. While studying aerospace engineering at Delft University, he set up a foundation, The Ocean Cleanup on a budget of 200 euros (£160) of saved-up pocket money. It took a while to find sponsors and start testing with not all of the early attempts working. But he is persevering in the face of sceptics and critics.
What is intriguing about his chart is the Uranus Neptune conjunction in Capricorn opposition Mercury. Uranus Neptune can be nerve-stretched, highly strung and fanatical, but it also can have a ‘eureka’ ability to spot inspired solutions. His Mercury is also in a tenacious trine to Pluto and a sensible trine to Saturn. His Mars in high-wire, can-be-scattered Gemini is on the focal point of a T Square to Saturn opposition Venus in Virgo, so he’s not short of courage though can be disorganized. And he has a Leo Sun in a confident, lucky square to Jupiter.
His Harmonics are also instructive – with a breakthrough genius 13H marked; as well as leaving-a-legacy-for-history 17H; and a get-it-together 5H.
That 1990s generation are certainly making their mark with unconventional solutions and ideas.