A massive cleanup of plastic in the seas will begin in the Pacific Ocean, by way of Alameda, California. The Ocean Cleanup, an effort that’s been five years in the making, plans to launch its beta cleanup system, a 600-meter (almost 2,000-foot) long floater that can collect about five tons of ocean plastic per month.
It’s a start. The launch date is September 8, and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch being targeted is more than 1,000 nautical miles from the launch point and on the move.The Ocean Cleanup plans to monitor the performance of the beta, called System 001, 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 when he was 18, is to clean up 50% of the patch in five years, with a 90% reduction by 2040.
The organization will take time to learn lessons from System 001, but “we are in a big hurry,” said Lonneke Holierhoek, chief operating officer at The Ocean Cleanup. “We really see the urgency in starting the cleanup because there’s so much harm that could happen with this plastic that’s floating out there.”
You’ve probably heard the latest stunning study on ocean plastic: By 2050 oceans are expected to contain more plastics than fish, according to the World Economic Forum.
The total cost of System 001 is about 21 million euros ($24.6 million U.S.), according to a rep for startup. That includes design, development, production, assembly and monitoring during the first year of operation.
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