Launched to much fanfare in September, a $20 million system designed to collect floating plastic in the Pacific Ocean is not, it seems, doing its job. The Ocean Cleanup has admitted in a news update on its website that the U-shaped floating barrier—The Ocean Cleanup System 001—is failing to retain the plastic that it collects.
The 2,000-foot-long device, which has a 10-foot skirt that hangs below the waterline, was deployed at the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” (between Hawaii and California) in October and was projected to clean up half of the plastic within five years. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is double the size of Texas and The Ocean Cleanup has estimated that it contains 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic weighing some 80,000 tons.
In the news update, the organization says that the system may be traveling slower than the plastic, “which provides the caught plastic with the opportunity to leave the system again.” The system has also been observed to create waves that may stop the plastic from entering the mouth of the device. The organization is continuing to test the system and hopes to “soon make the cleanup system fully operational.”
Read more here.
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