This past Saturday, a massive $20 million dollar system designed to clean up the world’s oceans was just deployed. Designed to clean up over 1.8 trillion pieces of trash that are floating around in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the system was designed by the non-profit organization known as Ocean Cleanup.
The organization was founded in 2013 by 18-year-old Dutch inventor Boyan Slat, with a mission to develop ‘advanced technologies to ride the world’s oceans of plastic.’ His device, a massive boom that is comprised of dozens of smaller booms can trap 150,000 pounds of plastic each year when they begin between Calfornia and Hawaii.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch he plans to destroy is the largest in the world, and it is twice the size of Texas and contains roughly 80,000 tons of plastic and other debris. To put that into perspective, it’s helpful to imaging 500 jumbo jets, which would equal the weight of the trash. According to researchers, when the two ocean currents meet, it creates a vortex, which prevents the trash from moving out of where it is stuck.
Due to its size, satellite images can actually monitor the patch.
While the boom system was deployed this past weekend, it will be placed closer to the garbage patch around mid-October and it will begin collecting trash. Shaped like a U, it will collect trash until it is met with a vessel that will then empty the machine and take it to land for sorting.
And the net, which captures the trash is just low enough to get the debris, without harming any sea creatures. And the project has the backing of some very big people including Peter Thiel (the founder of Paypal). As the project continues, more testing is in the works, and if the project is a success, we may see more and more systems placed into the ocean to collect trash and debris.