The world’s oceans have become increasingly clogged with trash over the last century. The slow breakdown of plastics have made the situation much worse. Now efforts are underway to remove some of the refuse from the waters. The target is the growing disaster known as “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.”
“Great” in this usage means huge. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is believed to be the largest floating trash pile. It poses a problem to marine life. It creates difficulties for shipping. The patch covers almost a million square miles of ocean.
The clean-up effort will attempt to remove 150,000 pounds of garbage in the first year. “Ocean Cleanup, a non profit spearheaded by Dutch inventor Boyan Slat, deployed its ambitious $20million system on Saturday from the San Francisco Bay for several weeks of testing before it’s officially set into motion,” The Daily Mail writes.
The process of collecting trash on the ocean isn’t easy. This method places a 2,000-foot float into the water. As currents push it around, it bends into a U-shape, trapping trash.
The company calls their float “System 101.” They hope to siphon off half of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in just five years. That’s an ambitious goal. DM notes that the patch is comprised of an estimated “1.8trillion pieces of scattered detritus and at least 87,000 of plastic.”
The floating island of refuse is between Hawaii and California. If the long boom is successful at corralling the trash, ships will meet it on the water and remove the refuse so it can be recycled.
“Clear blue skies and calm waters, perfect conditions to perform the first installation of System 001 at the test site. The Pacific Trial phase has begun,” the company announced.
Dutch inventor Boyan Slat, 24, is the brains behind the idea. “I’ve definitely never been so confident about the chance of success as I am today,” he said.
While many of us are eager to see these tests succeed, Boyan understands there are practical considerations that still have to be tested.
“And to me this is where I think my largest anxiety lies at this point in time. First of all, it’s something that we haven’t really been able to test very well,” he noted.
If it is successful, the technology will have a lot of work ahead of it.