The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is so large, it can easily be seen from space via satellites and covers roughly 1.6 million square kilometres and contains 1.8 trillion pieces of debris.
Enter the floating boom system – this was deployed on Saturday from San Francisco Bay and will undergo weeks of testing before being launched into action. The system was designed by the non-profit, Ocean Cleanup, which was founded in 2013 by 18-year-old Dutch inventor Boyan Slat. After his TEDx talk about his proposed solution to the plastic pollution problem – his message then went viral and garnered worldwide support.
The Ocean Cleanup is a non-profit organization, developing advanced technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic. Their mission is to develop “advanced technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic.” This organization has great plans to develop, test and prove the garbage collection technology on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Boyan Slat's TEDx talk
It’s key for the approximately 3 metres of netting, which is part of the boom design, that it is not deep enough so that fish can’t swim below it, with the aim that the boom will collect trash and not fish. However, this is something that remains to be tested in the open ocean rather than the testing of its design through a series of scale model tests and prototypes.
The floating boom system, with the help of dozens of more booms, is estimated to clean up 50% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch within the first five years. Each boom will trap up to 68, 000 kgs of plastic per year as they float along the currents between California and Hawaii. As the boom floats, it collects the garbage in the U shaped system, which the netting component below is designed to collect smaller pieces of plastic.
Once the boom is full, a vessel will meet the boom to collect the plastic and transport it to land for sorting and recycling.
The company is backed by some big hitters in the tech industry, including Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and Marc Benioff, the chief executive of Salesforce.com