Ambitious dreams have now become a reality as the Ocean Cleanup deploys its $20 million system designed to clean up the 1.8 trillion pieces of trash floating in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Check out another Forbes piece on how Ocean Cleanup aims to reuse and recycle the ocean plastic.
The floating boom system was deployed on Saturday from San Francisco Bay and will undergo several weeks of testing before being hauled into action. The system was designed by the nonprofit Ocean Cleanup, which was founded in 2013 by 18-year-old Dutch inventor Boyan Slat. Their mission is to develop “advanced technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic.”
When the oceanographer Charles Moore first discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch–an area of the ocean where currents concentrate the plastic we throw into the ocean–in 1997, he was shocked by its magnitude and persistence. “It seemed unbelievable, but I never found a clear spot,” he wrote later in Natural History magazine. “In the week it took to cross the subtropical high, no matter what time of day I looked, plastic debris was floating everywhere: bottles, bottle caps, wrappers, fragments.” In the years since the plastic buildup has only worsened. In a recent article in the New York Times, Moore reported that the Patch, through a process of accretion, now contains “solid areas you could walk on.”