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article imageRemoval of plastics from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch begins

By Karen Graham     Sep 8, 2018 in Environment
San Francisco - On Saturday, engineers deployed a trash collection device to corral plastic litter floating between California and Hawaii in an attempt to clean up the world's largest garbage patch in the heart of the Pacific Ocean.
Ocean currents concentrate plastic in five areas in the world: the subtropical gyres, also known as the world’s "ocean garbage patches". There are currently over 5.0 trillion pieces of plastic in these five garbage patches, and the largest is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch - now twice the size of Texas and containing over 1.8 trillion pieces of trash.
On September 8, a floating boom, 600 meters (1,968 feet) in length will be towed from the San Francisco Bay to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. And DeepGreen, along with global shipping company Maersk, is contributing to this historic project by offering The Ocean Cleanup foundation (TOC) the Maersk Launcher to launch its plastics cleanup project, according to a press release.
DeepGreen Metals, Inc. is a Canadian company offering a new and disruptive approach to supplying the world with metals needed for economic growth and clean technologies. Maersk Supply Service provides marine services and integrated solutions to the energy sector worldwide, employing 88,000 people.
The Launcher is under lease by DeepGreen, to carry out through the company's Nauru incorporated and sponsored subsidiary Nauru Ocean Resource, survey and scientific work on the deep-ocean floor to recover polymetallic nodules that contain a rich-supply of cobalt, copper, nickel and manganese—metals required to power the green infrastructure from electric cars to wind turbines.
The Maersk Launcher and its crew will be instrumental in deploying TOC's unique system designed to capture a significant portion of plastic debris in the central Pacific and reduce man-made pollution that poses an environmental threat to marine wildlife.
The Ocean Cleanup Foundation
In 2013, Boyan Slat, a then 19-year-old Aerospace Engineering student at TU Delft in Holland, made the claim he could clean up the oceans vast accumulation of plastics and other marine garbage in about five years.
Boyan Slat  Founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup
Boyan Slat, Founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup
The Ocean Cleanup
In 2015, Digital Journal began reporting on Slat's efforts when he founded and became CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, a group with the express purpose of developing technologies to extract, prevent, and intercept plastic pollution. Slat came up with what he called a floating "Ocean Cleanup Array." Instead of going after the plastics, which are in every one of the world's oceans, he devised an array of long floating barriers to let the ocean currents concentrate the plastic itself.
Boyan Slat first became interested in cleaning up the oceans while diving off the coast of Greece when he was 16-years-old. In 2012, he decided to make his intentions public, and now, all these years of hard work and tests have paid off, and we are at the threshold.
The Ocean Cleanup
How the system works
Slat's invention is simplicity itself. It is a passive system that consists of a 600-meter-long floater that sits at the surface of the water and a tapered 3-meter-deep skirt attached below. The floater provides buoyancy to the system and prevents plastic from flowing over it, while the skirt stops debris from escaping underneath.
Both the plastic and system are being carried by the current. However, wind and waves propel only the system, as the floater sits just above the water surface, while the plastic is primarily just beneath it. The system thus moves faster than the plastic, allowing the plastic to be captured.
"The plastic is really persistent and it doesn't go away by itself and the time to act is now," Slat said, according to CBC Canada, adding that researchers with his organization found plastic going back to the 1960s and 1970s bobbing in the patch.
The clean-up system is equipped with solar-powered lights, cameras, sensors and satellite antennas, allowing its position to be constantly followed. A support vessel will fish out all the accumulated trash every few months and transport it to dry land where it will be recycled, said Slat.
The Ocean Cleanup has raised $35 million in donations to fund the project, including from chief executive Marc Benioff and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. TOC will deploy 60 free-floating barriers in the Pacific Ocean by 2020.
More about The Ocean Cleanup, great pacific garbage patch, ocean cleanup array, Recycling, Environment
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