Billionaire Spends Entire Fortune on Vacuum That Sucks Tons of Trash Out of the Ocean

Billionaire Spends Entire Fortune on Vacuum That Sucks Tons of Trash Out of the Ocean

Marry us. (We don’t care that you’re broke now.)

By Kristyn Pomranz

Here at Unleashed, we don’t spend a ton of time talking about ocean animals. (With, perhaps, the solo exception of this sea lion that wants to be just like his dolphin BFFs.) But that doesn’t mean we aren’t passionate about our ocean life. (FUN FACT: There are 2.2 million species in the ocean and we love every single one of them. Even you, Goblin shark.)

That’s why we were bowled over when we heard the news that Kjell Inge Røkke, a Norwegian billionaire (worth $2,600,000,000—that’s 2.6 BILLION), has decided to donate almost his entire fortune to help clean up the world’s oceans.

Røkke will be using the lion’s share of his billions to fund a 600-foot marine research ship. The Research Expedition Vessel (REV) is going to be built in in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund, and the damn thing will be able to vacuum five tons of plastic out of the ocean (read: 10,000 POUNDS) per day—and then, of course, it will all be recycled.

(Lest you think plastic-in-the-waters is not a 10,000-pounds-a-day problem, here is a NOT-SO-FUN FACT for you: It was recently discovered that there is an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean that is covered in an estimated 38 million pieces of trash, so we hope the REV starts over there.)

Before amassing more money than our tiny bank accounts can even fathom, Røkke started out as a mere fisherman. Eventually, he began building a shipping fleet and investing in offshore drilling and apparently those types of things equal a net worth in the billions.

Røkke told a newspaper in Norway that he wanted "to give back to society what I've earned." His only misdemeanor? A 2005 illegal purchase of a boat license. He served 25 days in prison.

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