Device Cleaning Great Pacific Garbage Patch Breaks

Device Cleaning Great Pacific Garbage Patch Breaks

The plan was to reach the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and put Wilson to work, seeing in real conditions if the massive floating array could carry out the mission it was designed for: tow a massive U-shaped barrier through the garbage patch and allow it to collect as much plastic as possible within the first three meters of the water's surface.

Slat also said that Wilson had collected about 4,500 pounds of plastic waste over a period of several weeks, a far cry from the 2,200 pounds the crew had believed it would collect every week.

The contraption will be towed back to port for 'repairs and upgrades'.

The Ocean Cleanup's System 001 marine plastic collection prototype, known as "Wilson", will be returning to port for fix after less than three months out in the Pacific Ocean.

The 2,000-foot long boom is created to capture marine plastic via 10-foot deep screens, with bulkheads for storage.

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The cleanup system has collected some litter since being deployed October 16, and is returning to port with about 2.2 tons of plastic, including fishing nets, Slat said.

"Although it is too early to confirm the cause of the malfunction, we hypothesize that material fatigue. combined with a local stress concentration caused a fracture in the HDPE floater", according to a December 31 online update from Ocean Cleanup founder and CEO Boyan Slat. The system's deployment followed years of Ocean Cleanup research and fundraising that generated about $35 million in donations and sponsors, including PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel.

But on Thursday, after months at sea, 24-year-old Dutch inventor Boyan Slat said there are some major setbacks. From there, the organization will investigate the cause of the break and says they believe they'll have the system back out sometime this year. "Also, because no material was lost, there have been no safety risks for the crew, environment or passing marine traffic". One of the possible problems is that the system is not moving fast enough.

As envisioned, The Ocean Cleanup's goal is to eventually deploy numerous units throughout the ocean. The crew is looking at ways to speed the system and studying the effect of currents and waves on plastics' ability to enter the mouth for collection.

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