Research

Massive boom hopes to corral Pacific Ocean's plastic trash

Massive boom hopes to corral Pacific Ocean's plastic trash

A 2,000-foot-long trash collection device was deployed from San Francisco Bay over the weekend, and is the world's first ocean cleaning system.

After four years of research and adjustments to the groundbreaking system, the design now entails a 600-meter-long floater that sits at the surface of the water and a tapered 3-meter-deep skirt attached below.

At just 23 years of age, Boyan Slat scooped the European Entrepreneur of the Year award for the system at a Brussels awards ceremony held as part of the European Business Summit. Together, the U-shaped floater and skirt are carried by the oceans' natural movements (currents and waves), passively catching plastic debris along the way.

A supply ship towing a long floating boom created to corral ocean plastic has set sail from San Francisco for a test run ahead of a trip to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. In addition to the risk of wildlife entanglement, there's a "medium risk" acknowledged in an environmental assessment performed by Ocean Cleanup that sea turtles would be attracted to the boom and begin eating the collected plastic.

Once in place, the Ocean Cleanup, dubbed System 001, is deployed. Situated halfway between Hawaii and California, the patch contains 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic, and covers an area twice the size of Texas.

The Ocean Cleanup anticipates that the first plastic will be collected and returned to land within 6 months after deployment. If it works as designed, it should form a U-shape that collects plastic as it drifts around and would be periodically cleaned by support vessels.

More news: Nick Jonas finally shares his endearing love story with Priyanka Chopra

"On the other hand I feel stress, because now we have to prove that it really works", he said to NOS.

Equipped with sensors, cameras, and solar lights, the whole system is passive, meaning it needs no power to move except that of currents, the same that carry plastic waste. After completion of the trails, the 600-meter long device will travel the remaining 1000 nautical miles to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. "This makes me confident that, if we manage to make the technology work, the cleanup will happen".

Slat says he looks forward to the moment the first ship loaded with plastic comes back to port. "For 60 years, mankind has been putting plastic into the oceans; from that day onwards, we're taking it back out again".

After five years of preparation and scale model tests, "this is what it's all about, this is the culmination of all the efforts", said an excited Boyan Slat, the 24-year-old Dutch CEO and founder of The Ocean Cleanup.

The organization says they aim to remove about half of the garbage in the Great Pacific Patch within five years, and project that if fleets were deployed around the world they could remove 90 per cent of ocean plastic by 2040.


  • Paramore No Longer Playing 'Misery Business' at Live Shows

    Paramore No Longer Playing 'Misery Business' at Live Shows

    Frontperson Hayley Williams made the announcement Saturday in Nashville during the final date of their " After Laughter " tour. The band broke the news from the stage during a hometown show this past weekend.
    Olivia Munn feels 'lonely' having to promote The Predator alone

    Olivia Munn feels 'lonely' having to promote The Predator alone

    Munn's argument was that not only was she not told about Striegel's conviction, but that she would have to share a scene with him. Some of her cast mates also backed out of interviews with her, according to The Hollywood Reporter .
    Flights halted at Lyon airport after car drives onto runway

    Flights halted at Lyon airport after car drives onto runway

    In scenes captured on amateur video, the auto is seen hitting a bump, then going airborne and landing in a cloud of dust. Officers chase a man after he smashes his vehicle through a perimeter fence at Saint-Exupéry airport on Monday.
  • Apple Issues Letter Responding to President Trump’s Proposed Tarrifs

    Apple Issues Letter Responding to President Trump’s Proposed Tarrifs

    Trade Representative's office continues to "run their process", White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters said on Friday. Meanwhile, Chinese state media have been pushing propaganda that Trump's trade war is aimed at containing China's rise.
    Canada trade talks grind on, issues unresolved

    Canada trade talks grind on, issues unresolved

    As Trump confirmed on Saturday, his approach to the trade negotiations with the Canadians was to offer no compromises at all. Trump said on Wednesday that he expected it to be clear whether there would be a deal to include Canada in a few days.
    Olivia Newton-John reveals she's fighting cancer for a third time

    Olivia Newton-John reveals she's fighting cancer for a third time

    Olivia said: "In California, it's legal to grow a certain amount of plants for your own medicinal purposes". Her husband, John Easterling , founded the Amazon Herb Company and grows cannabis which helps treat her.
  • Two Afghans detained on suspicion of killing man in Germany

    Two Afghans detained on suspicion of killing man in Germany

    Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, of the Bavarian Christian Social Union has described migration as "the mother of all problems". A vigil and mourning march for the 22-year-old, named by local media as Markus B, also took place at the site of the brawl today.
    Doctors Warn Kids Need to Get Their Flu Shots ASAP

    Doctors Warn Kids Need to Get Their Flu Shots ASAP

    Among the Florida high schoolers who did get the shots, more reported getting them at a doctor's office than anywhere else. Last season was the first out of the 15 analyzed to be classified as "high severity" across all age groups.

    China promises retaliation if USA imposes more tariffs

    Apple's AirPods headphones, some of its Beats headphones and its new HomePod smart speaker would also face levies. China has threatened retaliation, which could include action against U.S. companies operating there.
  • Sergio Garcia’s motivational qualities swung it for Ryder Cup pick

    Sergio Garcia’s motivational qualities swung it for Ryder Cup pick

    The Ryder Cup is unlike any other tournament in golf and the atmosphere is something that every golf fan should experience . I'm super-excited and I'm going to do my very best to show up with my best form possible. "So does the American team".

    I will soon manage another club - Zidane speaks amid Man Utd links

    The former Real Madrid boss has told friends he expects a call from Old Trafford chiefs if the crisis engulfing Jose Mourinho spirals out of control.
    Aaron Rodgers returns to lead Pack to win against Bears

    Aaron Rodgers returns to lead Pack to win against Bears

    With limited mobility, Rodgers operated a no-huddle offense in the second half that kept him in the pocket. Defensive end Akiem Hicks was triple-teamed, and broke free to sack Rodgers and force a fumble.