After five years in the making, The Ocean Cleanup is launching its beta cleanup system, a 600-meter-long floater that can collect up to 5 tons of ocean plastic a month.
The cleanup project will begin in the Pacific Ocean on September 8 and will target the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a swirling mass of plastic waste between California and Hawaii that has grown to at least 87,000 tons, according to researchers. The plastics are swept into the patch by the currents and eventually disintegrate into smaller pieces, at which point the particles are eaten by fish and, ultimately, humans.
Forbes has more details:
A massive cleanup of plastic in the seas will begin in the Pacific Ocean, by way of Alameda, California. The Ocean Cleanup, an effort that's been five years in the making, plans to launch its beta cleanup system, a 600-meter (almost 2,000-foot) long floater that can collect about five tons of ocean plastic per month.
It's a start. The launch date is September 8, and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch being targeted is more than 1,000 nautical miles from the launch point and on the move.
The Ocean Cleanup plans to monitor the performance of the beta, called System 001, and have an improved fleet of 60 more units skimming the ocean for plastics in about a year a half. The ultimate goal of the project, founded by Dutch inventor Boyan Slat when he was 18, is to clean up 50% of the patch in five years, with a 90% reduction by 2040.