Helping The Ocean Cleanup

Latham lawyers advise the nonprofit spearheading an ambitious environmental project.

November 14, 2018

As a teenager, Boyan Slat went scuba diving and was dismayed by the amount of debris he saw floating in the water. He went on to create The Ocean Cleanup, a Netherlands-based nonprofit committed to using advanced technologies to rid the world’s oceans of trash and other floating pollution. 

The Ocean Cleanup’s approach differs from previous attempts to collect floating trash, as it is large-scale, energy-efficient, environmentally sound, and may even pay for itself. Its innovative technology includes a large-scale floating system that was recently deployed in the north Pacific gyre (twice the size of Texas) to intercept trash. If successful, 60 such systems will eventually be deployed, with the aim of reducing the trash in our oceans by 90 percent by 2040.

Led by partner Mike Carroll, counsel Nikki Buffa, and associates Taiga Takahashi and Bobbi-Jo Dobush, a team of Latham lawyers advised The Ocean Cleanup as it navigated regulatory matters, and continues to advise the organization as it develops and pilots its technology. Our firm’s Pro Bono and Executive Committees recently honored this team with the 2018 Robert M. Dell Prize for Extraordinary Public Service, in recognition of their tremendous effort and dedication to pro bono.     

Watch this short video to learn more about our work.


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