The amount of rubbish in our Oceans has become a critical issue for the well-being of the planet. According to the World Economic Forum, unless things change, by 2050 the oceans are expected to contain more plastics than fish (by weight).
At present there are five areas of the world where ocean currents concentrate the plastics in the world’s oceans. The largest of these is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, off the west-coast of the USA, that is estimated to contain around 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic.
This weekend will mark the beginning of the largest ever clean-up and removal of plastic from the Pacific Ocean. The Ocean Cleanup, a non-profit organisation based in the Netherlands, plans to launch its beta cleanup system into the ocean on Saturday.
The beta system, called System 001, is a giant 600 metre-long tube, which is designed to collect the rubbish from the ocean’s surface.
It will be towed by a tug boat almost 1,000 nautical miles from the coast of California to the location of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is located between Hawaii and California, and is an area of floating plastic waste that is twice the size of Texas.
System 001 will take advantage of natural forces such as the wind, ocean currents and waves to propel the system forward and form a U-shape naturally to concentrate plastic in the center.
The cleanup system is also fitted with solar powered-lights, cameras, sensors, satellite antenna along with anti-collision systems.
A support vessel will periodically visit the location and take out the plastic gathered by the cleanup system, which is then to be recycled and turned into products.
The Ocean Cleanup plans to monitor the performance of the beta system and have an improved fleet of 60 more units skimming the ocean for plastics in about a year a half. The ultimate goal of the project, founded by Dutch inventor Boyan Slat, who came up with idea when he was just 18, is to clean up 50% of the The Great Pacific Garbage Patch in five years, with a 90% reduction by 2040.