GIANT PLASTIC GARBAGE COLLECTOR DEPLOYED IN PACIFIC
A giant plastic garbage collector is being deployed in a trial in the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii.
Developed by Dutch non-profit organisation The Ocean Cleanup, the system is being towed to an area known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an area of about 1.6m square kilometres of ocean where there is a known accumulation of plastic waste.
The system has no power source but is propelled passively by the wind and waves, enabling it to catch plastic debris in front of it. The technology consists of a 600m long U-shaped floating barrier with a three metre skirt, which stops plastic debris from escaping underneath it.
Debris is channelled to the centre of system, where it is then collected by ships once every six weeks. The system is the idea of Dutch inventor Boyan Slat and features solar powered sensors and other devices that enable its movements to be tracked.
If the current trials prove successful, the group hopes to put a fleet of around 60 systems in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which it claims would be able to clear up around 50 per cent of the waste within five years.