After a series of setbacks, a system for catching plastic floating in the Pacific between California and Hawaii is now working, its Dutch inventor said Wednesday.
Boyan Slat, a university dropout who founded The Ocean Cleanup nonprofit, announced that the floating boom is skimming up waste ranging in size from a discarded net and a car wheel complete with tire to chips of plastic measuring just 1 millimeter.
The results are promising enough to begin designing a second system to send to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an area of floating plastic trash twice the size of Texas, Slat said.
But he sounded a note of caution, saying “if the journey to this point taught us anything it is that it’s definitely not going to be easy.”
The floating boom with a tapered 10-foot-deep (3-meter-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.
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