A FLOATING device designed to catch plastic waste has been redeployed in a second attempt to clean up a huge island of garbage swirling in the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii. Boyan Slat, creator of the Ocean Cleanup project, announced on Twitter that a 600-metre (2,000ft) long floating boom that broke apart late last year was sent back to the Great Pacific garbage patch this week after four months of repair.
A ship towed the U-shaped barrier from San Francisco to the patch in September to trap the plastic. But during the four months at sea, the boom broke apart under constant waves and wind and the boom was not retaining the plastic it caught. “Hopefully nature doesn’t have too many surprises in store for us this time,” Slat • Whales and sea turtles wash up dead in recent years with large amounts of plastic rubbish in their stomachs. tweeted. “Either way, we’re set to learn a lot from this campaign.” Fitted with solar-powered lights, cameras, sensors and satellite antennas, the device intends to communicate its position at all times, allowing a support vessel to fish out the collected plastic every few months and transport it to dry land.
The plastic barrier with a tapered three-metre deep (10ft deep) screen is intended to act like a coastline, trapping some of the 1.8tn pieces of plastic that scientists estimate are swirling in the patch while allowing marine life to safely swim beneath it.