Environment

Ocean Cleanup Project tests the waters with its first rollout in the Pacific

Ocean Cleanup Project tests th...
A 120-meter section of The Ocean Cleanup Project's barrier is towed out to sea
A 120-meter section of The Ocean Cleanup Project's barrier is towed out to sea
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The Ocean Cleanup Project's founder Boyan Slat
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The Ocean Cleanup Project's founder Boyan Slat
The Ocean Cleanup Project has been busy knocking up its first barriers since moving into an old naval base earlier this year
2/16
The Ocean Cleanup Project has been busy knocking up its first barriers since moving into an old naval base earlier this year
The Ocean Cleanup Project has been busy knocking up its first barriers since moving into an old naval base earlier this year
3/16
The Ocean Cleanup Project has been busy knocking up its first barriers since moving into an old naval base earlier this year
The Ocean Cleanup Project plans to deploy a 600-meter trash-catching barrier in the Pacific Ocean this year
4/16
The Ocean Cleanup Project plans to deploy a 600-meter trash-catching barrier in the Pacific Ocean this year
The Ocean Cleanup Project plans to deploy a 600-meter trash-catching barrier in the Pacific Ocean this year
5/16
The Ocean Cleanup Project plans to deploy a 600-meter trash-catching barrier in the Pacific Ocean this year
The Ocean Cleanup Project has been busy knocking up its first barriers since moving into an old naval base earlier this year
6/16
The Ocean Cleanup Project has been busy knocking up its first barriers since moving into an old naval base earlier this year
The Ocean Cleanup Project plans to deploy a 600-meter trash-catching barrier in the Pacific Ocean this year
7/16
The Ocean Cleanup Project plans to deploy a 600-meter trash-catching barrier in the Pacific Ocean this year
The Ocean Cleanup Project has been busy knocking up its first barriers since moving into an old naval base earlier this year
8/16
The Ocean Cleanup Project has been busy knocking up its first barriers since moving into an old naval base earlier this year
A 120-meter section of The Ocean Cleanup Project's barrier is towed out to sea
9/16
A 120-meter section of The Ocean Cleanup Project's barrier is towed out to sea
The Ocean Cleanup Project has been busy knocking up its first barriers since moving into an old naval base earlier this year
10/16
The Ocean Cleanup Project has been busy knocking up its first barriers since moving into an old naval base earlier this year
A 120-meter section of The Ocean Cleanup Project's barrier is towed out to sea
11/16
A 120-meter section of The Ocean Cleanup Project's barrier is towed out to sea
The Ocean Cleanup Project has been busy knocking up its first barriers since moving into an old naval base earlier this year
12/16
The Ocean Cleanup Project has been busy knocking up its first barriers since moving into an old naval base earlier this year
The Ocean Cleanup Project plans to deploy a 600-meter trash-catching barrier in the Pacific Ocean this year
13/16
The Ocean Cleanup Project plans to deploy a 600-meter trash-catching barrier in the Pacific Ocean this year
The Ocean Cleanup Project plans to deploy a 600-meter trash-catching barrier in the Pacific Ocean this year
14/16
The Ocean Cleanup Project plans to deploy a 600-meter trash-catching barrier in the Pacific Ocean this year
The Ocean Cleanup Project has been busy knocking up its first barriers since moving into an old naval base earlier this year
15/16
The Ocean Cleanup Project has been busy knocking up its first barriers since moving into an old naval base earlier this year
A 120-meter section of The Ocean Cleanup Project's barrier is towed out to sea
16/16
A 120-meter section of The Ocean Cleanup Project's barrier is towed out to sea
View gallery - 16 images

The Ocean Cleanup project has been busy knocking up its first barriers since moving into an old naval base earlier this year, and now it's in the process of seeing how the first pieces of the puzzle stand up in the Pacific Ocean.

The team got to work at its new assembly plant in San Francisco in February, with the objective of building a 600-meter-long (2,000 ft) screen that would make use of the ocean's natural currents to collect plastic waste.

The tow test currently underway is the first of three steps that the team will take in rolling out the full-scale barrier by the end of the year. It involved a 120-meter-long (400 ft) section being dragged around 50 nautical miles (93 km) offshore to see how it performs under tow and in the ocean.

A 120-meter section of The Ocean Cleanup Project's barrier is towed out to sea
A 120-meter section of The Ocean Cleanup Project's barrier is towed out to sea

This 120-meter section is the first piece of the entire 600-meter system, and was led a merry dance as it made its way out to sea. The tug followed a specific path designed to take the barrier with and against the current and waves, and through different weather and sea conditions as the team kept a close eye on its behavior.

Set to spend a total of two weeks out at sea, the team will continue monitoring its hydrodynamics with the trash-catching screens both lowered and raised. The lessons learned here will help the team prepare to safely tow a full-length system further out to the Great Pacific Garbage later in the year, some 1,200 nautical miles (2,220 km) offshore.

But first the team will recover the 120-meter section, use it to construct the full 600-meter system and then do one final test before the real deal. That will see the full system towed around 240 nautical miles (445 km) offshore for a period of 40 to 60 days, some time between July and September.

Source: The Ocean Cleanup

View gallery - 16 images
2 comments
warren52nz
How does it discriminate between garbage and marine animals?
gizmagister
"How does it discriminate between garbage and marine animals?" Look at their amazing innovation, on the Technology page https://www.theoceancleanup.com/technology/
It is totally different from normal, known methods of catching things with nets. They don't even use a net, though they plan to catch drifting pieces of discarded nets as part of their cleanup.