A massive contraption made to gather garbage from the surface of the ocean is evidently doing its job. Targeting an area highly saturated with rubbish – the Great Pacific Garbage Patch situated in-between Hawaii and California – the 2,000-foot-long floating device managed to contain a decent amount of rubbish from the giant trash island.
In a snapshot of the garbage that was gathered, you can seen buckets, nets, ropes, plastic containers, and even a car tire. The founder of the Ocean Cleanup project that setup the collection boom, Boyan Slat, wrote, “Our ocean cleanup system is now finally catching plastic, from one-ton ghost nets to tiny microplastics! Also, anyone missing a wheel?”
Natural currents have delivered extreme levels of trash and debris to merge in the middle of Hawaii and California. It is the biggest known aggregation of plastic in the planet’s ocean.
An estimated figure of between 600,000 and 800,000 tons of deserted fishing equipment end up in the ocean every year, in addition to roughly 8 million tons of plastic swamping in from the beaches.
An innovative project with a paramount goal
The floating Ocean Cleanup boom is ironically made of plastic, it has a collection buffer sitting 10 feet beneath it, and it’s designed to pull in around 1.8 trillion articles of plastic whilst avoiding interference with the ocean life underneath. It’s also capable of staying in touch with a boat to relay its location, so the accumulated pollution can be collected several times a year.
“We are now catching plastics. After beginning this journey seven years ago, this first year of testing in the unforgivable environment of the high seas strongly indicates that our vision is attainable and that the beginning of our mission to rid the ocean of plastic garbage, which has accumulated for decades, is within our sights. We now have a self-contained system in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch that is using the natural forces of the ocean to passively catch and concentrate plastics. This now gives us sufficient confidence in the general concept to keep going on this project,” says Slat. “I think in a few years’ time when we have the full-scale fleet out there, I think it should be possible to cover the operational cost of the cleanup operation using the plastic harvested”.