22-10-18 Plastic collection
The nonprofit group Ocean Cleanup launched its unmanned plastic debris collection system in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch on Oct. 16 following a trial in the Pacific Ocean.
The group said the 600 m-long high density polyethylene boom retained its floating U-shape as designed when it was deployed in the open ocean. A polyester woven skirt attached to the boom's underside gathers plastic from little shards of broken toys to huge fishing nets at the surface to a depth of 3 meters.
System 001, as it's called, is considered the world's first large-scale ocean cleanup system. It is expected to gobble up 70 ton of plastic for eventual recycling in its first year in the North Pacific gyre between California and Hawaii. If successful, backers plan to create a fleet of 60 floating screens, with a goal of cleaning half the patch in five years could be reached.
Ocean Cleanup plans to haul the captured marine litter ashore for recycling with a waste-carrying ship every few weeks.
System 001 worked as planned in its Pacific trial period from Sept. 15 to Oct. 2. The group says it kept the U-shape, moved at sufficient speed through the water, reoriented when wind and wave direction changed, held an effective span in its steady state, and received no significant damage.
"I think many people see innovation as a way to get rich. Not so much as a way to make the world a better place or enrich humanity," Boyan Slat, Ocean Cleanup founder, says in a documentary posted Oct. 14. on YouTube
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