X

24-Year-Old Relaunches Device to Trap Ocean Plastic

After 4 months of repair, Boyan Slat's floating boom is back at it in the Pacific Ocean
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 24, 2019 8:17 AM CDT
In this May 11, 2017, file photo, Dutch innovator Boyan Slat poses for a portrait next to a pile of plastic garbage prior to a press conference in Utrecht, Netherlands.   (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – A floating device designed to catch plastic waste has been redeployed in a second attempt to clean up a huge island of trash swirling in the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii. Boyan Slat, the 24-year-old creator of the Ocean Cleanup project, announced on Twitter that a 2,000-foot-long floating boom that broke apart late last year was sent back to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch this week after four months of repair. A ship towed the U-shaped barrier from San Francisco to the patch in September to trap the plastic. But during the four months at sea, the boom broke apart under constant waves and wind and wasn't retaining the plastic it caught. "Hopefully nature doesn't have too many surprises in store for us this time," Slat tweeted. "Either way, we're set to learn a lot from this campaign."

The plastic barrier with a tapered 10-foot-deep screen is intended to act like a coastline, trapping some of the 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic that scientists estimate are swirling in the patch while allowing marine life to safely swim beneath it. Fitted with solar-powered lights, cameras, sensors, and satellite antennas, the device intends to communicate its position at all times, allowing a support vessel to fish out the collected plastic every few months and transport it to dry land. During its first run, the organization said marine biologists on board the support vessel did not observe any environmental impact, reports the AP. Slat has said he hopes one day to deploy 60 of the devices to skim plastic debris off the surface of the ocean. (The boom has a nickname.)


My Take on This Story
Show results without voting  |  
3%
21%
2%
72%
0%
2%