An experimental system for pulling plastic out of the Pacific Ocean is reporting success.
Boyan Slat, founder of the Ocean Cleanup nonprofit, announced Wednesday his floating boom is finally skimming up waste. Slat says his system has recovered things as large as a car wheel, complete with tire, and as small as chips of plastic measuring just one millimeter.
He says the results are promising enough to begin work on a second system.
Slat is a former aerospace engineering student who dropped out of college in 2013 to devote his time and energy to the solving the problem of plastic pollution. He raised just over $2-million through crowd funding, and founded the Ocean Cleanup
Five-years, and more than $31-million in donations later, Slat and his group launched the first phase of their assault on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. That’s an island of trash roughly twice the size of Texas floating between Hawaii and California.
Early versions of Slat’s boom system failed. The team continued to make modifications on the original design. Wednesday’s announcement signals the Ocean Project’s greatest success so far.
Slat says once the group achieves full-scale deployment of booms, half the Garbage Patch will be gone within five-years. He expects to achieve full deployment by 2020.
Slat remains optimistic, yet cautious. He says, ” if the journey to this point taught us anything it that it’s definitely not going to be easy. ”