Katerva announced the winners of their Katerva Award, known as the “Nobel Prize for Sustainability,” and this year’s winner is The Ocean Cleanup. Designed by Boyan Slat, now in his early twenties, the ambitious project has made headlines for years now, and feasibility studies revealed that one 63 mile array has the potential to “remove 42 percent of the Great Pacific garbage patch in only 10 years.”

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Katerva Founder and Managing Director Terry Waghorn told Inhabitat, “To solve the complex sustainability challenges we face as stewards of our planet will require innovative solutions across a wide range of disciplines and economic sectors. Katerva provides a much needed and novel forum for this to happen, as evidenced by the innovation and entrepreneurship embodied by this year’s 10 Finalists for the Katerva Award.”

Related: INTERVIEW: Boyan Slat, Teenage Inventor of The Ocean Cleanup Array

The Ocean Cleanup basically works to allow the seas to clean themselves, drawing on wave power to collect plastic trash in the ocean. That plastic can then be recycled and turned into fuel or other products. Plastic pollution is severely harming the life in our oceans, killing around one million birds and 100,000 mammals every year.

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Slat’s Ocean Cleanup Array battles the pollution through technology that forms what’s basically a huge sieve. The movement of waves help collect plastic in the array, which can gather trash from the surface down to 10 feet below. Katerva aims to accelerate projects like The Ocean Cleanup through access to the wider Katerva community, which includes businesses, non-profits, policy makers, and academics from around the world.

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There are 10 categories for the Katerva Award: Behavioral Change, Environment, Economics, Food, Gender Equality, Human Development, Materials & Resources/Water, Power & Energy, Transportation, and Smart Cities. Other notable winners include a water-saving shower using rocket technology and a company working to improve smartphone sustainability through conflict-free minerals and fair wages. The Runner-Up is Salt Farm Texel, a group cultivating crops that can survive in soil affected by salt.

With this award, Boyan Slat’s effort to clean up the oceans will be accelerated with the help of the Katerva community.

+ Katerva

+ The Ocean Cleanup

Images courtesy of Katerva and The Ocean Cleanup