the ocean clean up returns to take on the great pacific garbage patch

the ocean clean up returns to take on the great pacific garbage patch

non-profit organisation and THE DESIGN PRIZE 2019 nominee for social impact, the ocean cleanup, has redeployed its beta cleanup system in a second attempt to remove the largest accumulation of ocean plastic in the world. the company was forced to haul in its huge floating boom, which works like a giant pac-man, earlier in the year after it broke apart under the constant waves and wind. now, after four months of repairs, it is hopeful it has a system better equipped to take on the massive task of plastic pollution.

the ocean clean up returns to take on the great pacific garbage patch designboom

images courtesy of the ocean cleanup



the ocean cleanup‘s giant ‘pac-man’ system consists of a 600-meter-long floating tube that sits at the surface of the water, with a tapered 3-meter-deep skirt attached below to catch plastic waste. after the system was deployed in october last year, the team found that after just a few months the barrier had become fractured and was struggling to maintain the speeds required to gather up trash.

the ocean clean up returns to take on the great pacific garbage patch designboom



the upgraded version is equipped with a couple of new features to address these issues. one is the attachment of a string of huge inflatable buoys across the system’s opening, which it’s hoped will add to the windage of the system and pull it through the water faster.

the ocean clean up returns to take on the great pacific garbage patch designboom



if the buoys prove ineffective at speeding up the system, an alternative option is to attach a massive 20-meter-diameter parachute-like sea anchor, which will help it to maintain a slower speed than the plastic. rather than attempting to go faster than the plastic, this option brings the speed close to the speed of the water, allowing trash to build up in the U-shaped barrier, making use of the team’s earlier observation that plastic can travel substantially faster than the water current.

the ocean clean up returns to take on the great pacific garbage patch



‘hopefully nature doesn’t have too many surprises in store for us this time,’ tweeted
boyan slat, creator of the ocean cleanup project.
‘either way, we’re set to learn a lot from this campaign.’

the ocean clean up returns to take on the great pacific garbage patch



the team has also made efforts to increase the durability of the device by building simpler connections between the barrier and floating skirt and removing large and unnecessary stabilizing structures. it has also taken a more modular approach to its construction, allowing the team to deploy the system faster and make alterations without needing to two the entire thing back to shore.


project info


company: the ocean cleanup

  • A thimble-full is better than nothing – it is heaps compared to the efforts governments seem to provide.


    Jimmy Xi says:

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