Plastic Planet

The Ocean Cleanup heads for the Pacific

It’s launching time for The Ocean Cleanup, the ambitious project that aims to collect plastic from the island of plastic three times the size of France drifting in the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii.

The nonprofit organization, founded in 2013 by then-18-year-old Dutch entrepreneur Boyan Slat, has raised a whopping $40 million ahead of its launch. It intends to gather floating ocean plastic by way of a 600-meter long floating plastic arm, similar to a dragnet, and is expected to scoop up plastic bottles, bottle caps, bits and pieces of plastic containers — anything that may float or just be under the surface. Every few weeks, a garbage truck-like ship will float by to collect what the tube has gathered.

Ocean Cleanup claims its device could cut the size of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in half within five years. However, plastic pollution experts are skeptical on the expected effects, as they worry about how the installation may kill marine life, while being unable to catch smaller plastic particles.

Surely, doing nothing isn’t helping marine life either.

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