Research conducted during the past 20 years has shown that about a million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals die each year from plastic pollution.
The pollution also causes at least $13 billion in damage every year to industries that include fishing, shipping and tourism.
The Ocean Cleanup plans to deploy a 110-yard barrier segment during the second quarter of this year in the North Sea, 14 milesoff the coast of The Netherlands. This will be the first time the organization tests its barrier design in open waters.
The main objective of the North Sea test is to monitor the effects of real-life sea conditions, with a focus on waves and currents. The Ocean Cleanup will monitor motions of the barrier and the loads on the system via cameras and sensors.
The floating barriers, which capture and concentrate the plastic debris, are critical elements of the concept. Because of their size and the extreme oceanic conditions, the barriers always have been the top focus of the engineering team.
After extensive computer modeling and scale-model testing in controlled environments at the Deltares and Maritime Research Institute Netherlands basins, engineers believe it is time to move the barrier to the next stage of development.
Visit http://www.theoceancleanup.com to see a video of how the project began and read about the technology that may rid our oceans of the massive debris gyres.