Great garbage trap heads for open ocean

A project vessel belonging to Ocean Cleanup towed an experimental garbage collector from San Francisco Bay into the Pacific Ocean Saturday. The 600m-long, 3m-deep curtain will float in a U-shape along with the winds and currents, sifting out confetti-like bits of plastic that have made a plastic soup of the waters between California and Hawaii. Ocean Cleanup researchers estimate that there are 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, about 250 pieces for every person on the planet. The plastics range in size from fishing nets to the microscopic beads used in cosmetics, toothpastes, and abrasive cleaners.

Founded in 2013 by then-19-year-old Dutch inventor Boyan Slat, Ocean Cleanup aim to remove half of the plastic in the Pacific garbage patch within five years of roll-out of 60 of their garbage collecting traps.

Image courtesy of Digital Globe 9/8/18. Coordinates 37.79N, 122.39W.

Dan Hammer