Boyan Slat: The challenges of chasing plastic around the globe

ProgrammE Editor
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In 2013, the 18-years-old Boyan Slat started The Ocean Cleanup in his hometown, Delft. Struck by the idea of a floating barrier that could collect plastic using the power of ocean currents, he aimed to clean the world’s oceans of all plastic soup. His idea gained worldwide attention.

Over the past ten years, The Ocean Cleanup has faced successes and challenges in creating technologies to clean polluted waters. In 2023, the company reached the milestone of removing 200,000 kilos of plastic from the Pacific Ocean. But every year, more than 1 million tons of plastic pollution ends up in the ocean.

This evening we speak with The Ocean Cleanup and the law firm De Brauw, The Ocean Cleanup’s pro bono partner, about the legal challenges of their activities. What can, and should, we do on the high seas, where no single State is responsible? What can we learn from The Ocean Cleanup in tackling environmental issues in areas beyond national jurisdiction?


Boyan SlatFounder & CEO The Ocean Cleanup
Irina BugaSenior Associate in International Arbitration, De Brauw
Maria WesterbosFounder & CEO Plastic Soup Foundation
João Ribeiro-BidaouiDirector Public Affairs The Ocean Cleanup
Marcia LuytenModerator
The Ocean Cleanup

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