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Ocean Cleanup foundation deploys 2000 ft long device to clean Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Sep 10, 2018 11:01 IST
Dutch innovator Boyan Slat's massive plastic-cleaning device to clean Great Pacific Garbage Patch

The Ocean Cleanup foundation, an organisation founded by 24-year-old Dutch innovator Boyan Slat, on September 9, 2018 launched the world’s first ocean cleanup array from San Francisco, marking the start of the cleanup of Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a collection of marine debris in the North Pacific Ocean.

The cleanup system, “System 001”, headed to a location 240 nautical miles offshore for a two-week trial before moving towards the Great Pacific Garbage Patch which is 1200 nautical miles offshore, to start the cleanup.

System 001 is being towed from the San Francisco Bay by the vessel Maersk Launcher. 

System 001: a 2000-foot-long plastic cleaning array

The cleanup array comprises floater, skirt and stabilizers.

System 001, named as ‘Wilson’, will be able to collect 50 tons of plastic in its first year.

The hard-walled pipe enables the floating component of the array.

It consists of a 2000 ft long U-shaped floating barrier with a three-meter (10 ft) skirt attached below.

This dense 10-foot skirt below the floating part of the device is supposed to help gather floating debris.

The system is designed to be propelled by wind and waves, allowing it to passively catch and concentrate plastic debris in front of it.

The floating array is equipped with lanterns, radar reflectors, navigational signals, GPS, and anti-collision beacons.

The system is fitted with sensors and cameras to help the team in monitoring its performance and make improvements for future deployments.

The system receives the power through the solar panels.

What is Great Pacific Garbage Patch?

  • The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a collection of marine debris in the North Pacific Ocean, containing up to 16 times more waste than previously thought.
  • The Patch occupies an area three times the size of France in the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii with 79000 tons of plastic debris in the form of 1.8 trillion pieces.
  • The Patch is also known as the Pacific trash vortex and spans from the West Coast of North America to Japan.
  • The patch is comprised of the Western Garbage Patch located near Japan and the Eastern Garbage Patch located between the US States of Hawaii and California.
  • Plastics accumulated in the patch do not wear down; they simply break into tinier pieces, forming Microplastics.
  • The patch was discovered in 1997 by Charles Moore, who had sailed through a mishmash of floating plastic bottles and other debris on his way home to Los Angeles.
  • The patch is now being targeted by the Ocean Cleanup Foundation for the cleanup. The Foundation was set up by 24-year-old Dutch teenager Boyan Slat with an aim to clean the patch through USD 32 million ‘Ocean Cleanup’ campaign.

The Ocean Cleanup

Dutch inventor Boyan Slat founded ‘The Ocean Cleanup’ in 2013 at the age of 18 in Delft, the Netherlands.

Headquartered at Rotterdam, the Netherlands, the Ocean Cleanup is a non-profit organization, developing advanced technologies to free the world’s oceans of plastic.

The organisation targets to clean up half the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 5 years’ time.

As per the plans of the organisation, the concentrated plastic will be brought back to shore for recycling and will be sold to companies. The revenue gained will help fund the cleanup expansion.

The Ocean Cleanup's team consists of more than 70 engineers, researchers, scientists and computational modelers working daily to rid the world's oceans of plastic.

 

 

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