Massive boom will corral Pacific Ocean's plastic trash

System 001 floating in the San Francisco Bay before its launch

System 001 floating in the San Francisco Bay before its launch

Fitted with solar power lights, cameras, sensors and satellite antennas, the cleanup system will communicate its position at all times, allowing a support vessel to fish out the collected plastic every few months and transport it to dry land where it will be recycled, said Slat. According to the company's models, a system with 100 kilometers in barriers can clean up half of the plastic now in the oceans within 10 years. For his relentless efforts to chart new territory in the quest for a solution to the ever-growing global problem of plastic marine debris, UN Environment awarded Slat the Champions of Earth Award in 2014.

The great by 24-year-old Dutch man Boyan Slat and his company Ocean Cleanup is finally underway. The largest one of these, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, is located between Hawaii and the West Coast of the United States.

Slat said he and his team will pay close attention to whether the system works efficiently and withstands harsh ocean conditions, including huge waves.

While the main objective of System 001 is to prove the technology and start the cleanup, a secondary goal is to collect performance data to improve the design for future deployments.

According to the Times, the buoyant structure is now being hauled out to a site where it will undergo testing-and if it passes, it will be brought to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to begin the task of trapping some of the estimated 1.8 trillion pieces (80,000 tons by weight) of plastic garbage out there. Besides washing up on our beaches and shorelines, plastic marine debris accumulates in five garbage patches around the world.

The Ocean Cleanup, which has raised $35 million in donations to fund the project, including from Salesforce.com chief executive Marc Benioff and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, will deploy 60 free-floating barriers in the Pacific Ocean by 2020.

They will stay in the water for two decades and in that time will collect 90 per cent of the garbage in the patch, he added.

Slat hopes that this project will also prompt the world to think differently about how we deal with plastic.

"We at the Ocean Conservancy are highly skeptical but we hope it works", he said.

Hundreds of scale-model tests, a series of prototypes, research expeditions and multiple iterations have led to The Ocean Cleanup having sufficient confidence in its technology to launch its first full-scale cleanup system.

"If you don't stop plastics from flowing into the ocean, it will be a Sisyphean task", Mr Leonard said. Volunteers past year collected about 10,000 tons of plastics worldwide over two hours, he said.

Schwartz also voiced concerns about the impact the contraption will have on marine life. We see plastic throughout water columns, on the ocean floor, deposited in polar ice caps.

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