Massive Ocean Cleanup Project Begins Third Attempt to Clear Great Pacific Garbage Patch
ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS — The Ocean Cleanup Project’s largest system returned to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch last week, hoping to gather some of the 1.6 million square kilometers or 617,000 square miles of plastic that has accumulated there, according to New Atlas.
Ocean Cleanup System 002 consists of a 600-meter or 2,000-foot U-shaped barrier that floats on the surface of the ocean, with a ‘skirt’ hanging off it down below, both dragged forward by two ships.
The idea behind it is that plastic from the ocean gets caught up in both the barrier and the skirt, while fish and other marine life are free to swim below them, according to the Ocean Cleanup’s website.
The plastic that accumulates funnels down into a Waste Retention Zone at the back of the system, where it can eventually be emptied by a support vessel.
The Great Pacific Garbage patch, located between Hawaii and California, is the largest of five ocean garbage patches, according to the Ocean Cleanup’s website, posing risks to the safety and health of marine animals, as well as carrying significant health and economic implications for humans. The Ocean Cleanup Project says that, ultimately, in combination with decreasing the amount of plastic put into the ocean, it aims to remove 90 percent of floating ocean plastic by 2040.
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