A nonprofit has deployed a multimillion-dollar floating boom designed to corral plastic debris littering the Pacific Ocean (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source). The 2,000-foot-long structure left San Francisco Bay on Saturday. According to The New York Times, Ocean Cleanup “aims to trap up to 150,000 pounds of plastic during the boom’s first year at sea.” From the report: Within five years, with the creation of dozens more booms, the organization hopes to clean half of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Over the next several days, the boom will be towed to a site where it will undergo two weeks of testing. If everything goes as planned, the boom will then be brought to the garbage patch, nearly 1,400 miles offshore, where it is expected to arrive by mid-October, said Boyan Slat, 24, the Dutch inventor and entrepreneur who founded Ocean Cleanup.
The cleanup system is supposed to work like this: After the boom detaches from the towing vessel, the current is expected to pull it into the shape of a “U.” As it drifts along, propelled by the wind and waves, it should trap plastic “like Pac-Man,” the foundation said on its website. The captured plastic would then be transported back to land, sorted and recycled. The boom has an impenetrable skirt that hangs nearly 10 feet below to catch smaller pieces of plastic. The nonprofit said marine life would be able to pass underneath.
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