Huge floating boom finally retains debris from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, creator says
A huge floating device designed by Dutch scientists to clean up an island of rubbish in the Pacific ocean that is three times the size of France has successfully picked up plastic from the high-seas for the first time.
Boyan Slat, the creator of the Ocean Cleanup project, announced on Twitter that the 600-metre (2,000ft) long floating boom had captured and retained debris from what is known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Alongside a picture of the collected rubbish, which includes a car wheel, Slat tweeted: “Our ocean cleanup system is now finally catching plastic, from one-ton ghost nets to tiny microplastics! Also, anyone missing a wheel?”
About 600,000 to 800,000 metric tons of fishing gear are abandoned or lost at sea each year. Another 8m metric tons of plastic waste flows in from beaches.
Ocean currents have brought a vast patch of such detritus together halfway between Hawaii and California where it is kept in rough formation by an oceanic gyre, a whirlpool of currents.
The vast cleaning system is designed to not only collect large visible pieces of plastic and discarded fishing nets, but also tiny pieces of plastic.
The plastic barrier which floats on the surface of the sea has a three-metre (10ft) deep screen below it which is intended to trap some of the 1.8tn pieces of plastic without disturbing marine life below.
The device is fitted with satellites and sensors so it can communicate its position to a vessel that will collect the gathered rubbish every few months…
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