Ocean clean-up un­der­way

How It Works - - GLOBAL EYE -

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

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