Floating device used to clear plastic from the Pacific Ocean is 'finally doing its job’

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
Plastic rubbish from the Pacific Ocean is starting to be cleared by a 2000-foot device (AP)

A device that was built to pick up plastic floating in the Pacific Ocean has finally started to work after it was brought back to dry land for repairs.

The Ocean Cleanup system, a 2,000-foot long floating boom, is fitted with a long net that collects plastic as it floats along the current between California and Hawaii - known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch - allowing marine life to swim beneath it.

However, it was towed back to shore in January after it broke apart but now Ocean Cleanup, the non-profit organisation behind the device, has now confirmed it is working as it should.

The vast net moves with the current of the ocean and collects floating plastics (AP)

Ocean Cleanup founder and CEO Boyan Slat said: "Today, I am very proud to share with you that we are now catching plastics.”

He added: "We now have a self-contained system in the great Pacific garbage patch that is using the natural forces of the ocean to passively catch and concentrate plastics, thereby confirming the most important principal behind the ocean cleanup system.”

The boom initially broke apart under constant wind and waves in the Pacific.

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Previously Mr Slat said the boom was moving slower than the plastic, allowing the rubbish to float away.

The plastic barrier with a tapered 10-foot-deep screen is intended to act like a coastline, trapping some of the 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic that scientists estimate are swirling in the patch while allowing marine life to safely swim beneath it.

Dutch inventor Boyan Slat confirmed his device is now working (AP)

Mr Slat has said he hopes one day to deploy 60 of the devices to skim plastic debris off the surface of the ocean.

However he added that the final design will need to be built so that it is able to survive for years in difficult ocean conditions, while at the same time being able to hold plastics for months at a time.

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