On September 8th 2018, the San Francisco Bay saw the launch of System 001 of The Ocean Clean Up. The project, created by a nonprofit founded by Boyan Slat of the Netherlands, was the first feasible attempt to remove ocean pollution on a large scale.
The massive floating device now represents the first step in achieving the massive task of eliminating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an infamous mass of plastic roughly twice the size of Texas.
The passive system will move with the currents, like the plastic, collecting it for removal. A 600-meter-long floater sits at the surface of the water and a tapered 3-meter-deep skirt is attached below. The floater provides buoyancy to the system and prevents plastic from flowing over it, while the skirt stops debris from escaping underneath. Every six weeks a support vessel will be sent to pick up the gathered debris and ship it back to a recycling center.
The project hopes to collect approximately 5.5 tons of plastic waste each month and estimates that with 60 similar devices 50% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch could be removed from the ocean in five years.