Ocean clean-up underway
The world’s first system designed to remove plastic from our oceans launches from San Francisco Bay
On 8 September, The Ocean Cleanup’s System 001 (known as Wilson) began its epic journey towards the Great Pacific garbage patch – a huge mass of floating debris caught by circulating currents in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The system consists of a 600-metre-long float with a three-metre-deep skirt attached below to catch debris. This creates a kind of artificial coastline but is not closed like a net, so marine wildlife won’t get trapped. It floats along the surface propelled by the currents, waves and wind – just as ocean plastics are. Gradually, the ends of the linear system curve around towards each other to form a C shape, concentrating the collected plastic in the middle. Every few months, vessels will collect the waste and take it back to shore for proper recycling. Wilson will first be tested 463-649 kilometres offshore for a few weeks before completing its journey to the Garbage Patch over 2,200 kilometres away to begin the clean-up in earnest.
It is estimated that The Ocean Cleanup’s systems will be able to remove half the Great Pacific garbage patch in just five years The skirt (pictured below) will extend beneath the float to sweep up plastic debris near the surface
This innovative system is the brainchild of 24-year-old Dutch inventor Boyan Slat (centre), founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup