In a first, an ocean cleanup device designed by Dutch scientists to clean up an island of rubbish in the Pacific Ocean has reportedly helped clear plastic from the sea. The founder of Ocean Cleanup Project, Boyan Slat, announced the achievement on October 2, on his official Twitter handle. He informed the media that the 600 meter-long (2,000ft) free-floating boom captured and retained debris from what is known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The picture in the tweet showed rubbish including car wheel, "from one-ton ghost nets to tiny microplastics".
Our ocean cleanup system is now finally catching plastic, from one-ton ghost nets to tiny microplastics!— Boyan Slat (@BoyanSlat) October 2, 2019
Also, anyone missing a wheel? pic.twitter.com/Oq0rkXO3TH
As per reports, about 600,000 to 800,000 metric tonnes of fishing gear is abandoned or lost at sea each year. Speaking of other plastic wastes, reports stated that another 8m tonne of plastic waste flow in from beaches. Halfway between Hawaii and California, ocean currents have brought a vast patch of such detritus where it is kept in rough formation by an ocean gyre, a whirlpool of currents. This reported being the largest accumulation of plastic in the world’s oceans.
In case you missed it, here is a short recap of our announcement today. pic.twitter.com/bGhrkty5W6— The Ocean Cleanup (@TheOceanCleanup) October 2, 2019
Slat said in another video that the vast cleaning system is designed to not only collect discarded fishing nets and large visible plastic objects but also microplastics. In and about 1.8tn pieces of plastic are supposed to be collected by the plastic barrier floating on the surface of the sea having a three meter-deep (10ft) screen below it without disturbing the marine life below. There are transmitters and sensors fitted to the device to enable ita location so that the debris is collected every few months.
In a press conference, Slat added that the plastic gathered so far will be brought to shore in December for recycling. This will be a viable option as there may be a premium market for items that have been made using plastic reclaimed from the ocean, Slat added. He said the money gathered from selling recycled plastic items might just fund the projects future endeavours. They plan to now scale up the device and make it more durable so it can retain plastic for up to a year or possibly longer before collection is necessary.
Read: Humanity Must Rescue Oceans To Rescue Itself, Warns UN Report