Scoop plastic waste from the Pacific Ocean



Ambitious dreams have now become a reality as the Ocean Cleanup deploys its $20 million system designed to clean up the 1.8 trillion pieces of trash floating in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. located between Hawaii and California.

The system was designed by the nonprofit Ocean Cleanup, which was founded in 2013 by 18-year-old Dutch inventor Boyan Slat. Their mission is to develop "advanced technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic."

The floating boom system, with the help of dozens of more booms, is estimated to clean up half of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch within the first five years. Each boom will trap up to 150,000 pounds of plastic per year as they float along the currents between California and Hawaii.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a vortex of trash created from an ocean gyre in the central North Pacific. The trash vortex was discovered in the mid-1980s and lies halfway between Hawaii and California.
Location of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and the subtropical convergence zone.
 NOAA

The garbage patch is so large, it is easily detectable from space via satellites and covers roughly 1.6 million square kilometers and 1.8 trillion pieces of debris. The trash is collected and trapped within a circulating ocean current, called a gyre. This prevents the distribution of the garbage patch, a benefit when creating a system to collect the plastic.

The floating boom system, after undergoing testing, will be towed out 1,400 miles to the garbage patch around mid-October and begin collecting trash. The floating boom drifts along with the local currents, creating a U-shaped formation. As the boom floats, it collects trash in the U shaped system, which has 10 feet of netting below it to collect smaller fragments of plastic. Once the boom is full, a vessel will meet the boom to collect the plastic and transport it to land for sorting and recycling.

The company is backed by some heavy hitters in the tech industry, including Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and Marc Benioff, the chief executive of Salesforce.com

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