Whatever happened to Boyan Slat’s test?

Slat was the wunderkind who came up with an idea, using floating booms, to clear the oceans of floating plastic waste. He was mocked by all the scientists who actually knew something about the problem, but hey, this is science. Empirical results trump all. He ran a trial last summer, and if his scheme worked, you know we should all be writing apologies.

He tried a small scale (2 million euros!) test, in a patch of the sea that was calmer and more temperate than the Pacific, where he ultimately hoped to clear up the great Pacific garbage patch. Guess what?

It didn’t work, as expected. It was broken up after 2 months and didn’t collect any garbage.

Man, it sure would have been nice to have to write that apology.


  1. kevinalexander says

    I’m starting to think that the only way to clean it up would be to have a market for garbage. Then you could re-purpose all the trawlers that are running out of fish anyway.

  2. handsomemrtoad says


    PZ, you should look at the story about Dr. Daniel Neides, a family-practice doc at CLEVELAND CLINIC who also directs training of other docs, who posted a loonie anti-vax rant on his blog. This guy ACTUALLY gives PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE to ACTUAL PATIENTS for a living.