If you’ve been paying any attention to mankind’s battle with plastic waste in the last five years, you know that much of the news is depressing. As more and more plastic ends up in the world’s oceans, scientists and researchers struggle with how to both stop it and clean it up.
Now, there’s some good news from the folks at The Ocean Cleanup, an organization started by Dutch inventor Boyan Slat at age 18. The organization’s goal is in five years to clean up half of the plastic waste floating in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a current-driven slick of trash in the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and California.
The Ocean Cleanup initially deployed its first 2,000-foot-long trash-collecting boom last year in September, but reported that it had broken apart in January 2019.
Undeterred, the organization launched a second prototype a few months ago and last week announced that the free-floating system is successfully collecting trash and plastic waste from the Pacific Ocean. Among the waste gathered by the system were fishing nets, plastic crates, tires, plant pots and lots of plastic chips, also known as microplastics.
You can learn more about The Ocean Cleanup system here. The illustration above shows how the system works.