Ocean Cleanup team heads to the Pacific

• A supply ship towing a long floating boom designed to corral ocean plastic has set sail from San Francisco for a test run ahead of a trip to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

• The ambitious project by The Ocean Cleanup, a Dutch non-profit group, hopes to clean up half of the infamous garbage patch within five years once all systems are deployed.

• The supply vessel was towing a 600 meter-long boom device dubbed System 001, designed to contain floating ocean plastic so it can be scooped up and recycled.

• The system includes a tapered three-meter skirt to catch plastic floating just below the surface.

• The ship was heading to a spot 240 nautical miles off the California coastline for a two-week trial before sailing to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a floating trash pile twice the

• The main mission is to show that it works, and hopefully then in a few months from now, the first plastics will arrive back into port, which means that it becomes proven technology,” Mr Slat told AFP as he witnessed the launch.

Way forward

• Laurent Lebreton, the project’s lead oceanographer, said they believe the Pacific garbage patch contains some 80,000 metric tones of plastic waste.

• Mr. Lebreton said that the plastic has started to accumulate in the ocean since… the 1950s.

• He said that scientists first learned about the plastic concentrating in the Pacific garbage patch in the 1970s.

• Land-based plastic comes mainly from rivers, but we also find a lot of fishing ropes, fishing nets.

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Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

Prelims level: Great Pacific Garbage Patch, Photodegradation

Mains level: Ocean Cleanup Project and its strategy

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