The Ocean Cleanup Project is back at it again, this time with a new and improved system. More than eight weeks after launching its first innovative device in 2018, the organization suffered some temporary problems that stalled cleanup efforts for months.
A design and manufacturing flaw caused a crack to form at the bottom of the pipe, which eventually developed into a large fracture that started spilling trash back into the ocean.
The device was designed to passively collect plastic using the ocean’s natural current, an idea that has proven to be a bit more complicated than planned.
Boyan Slat is the ambitious entrepreneur behind the project that originally started in 2013 with six research expeditions taking place between 2013 and 2015.
The organization believes that the large cleanup device needs to travel at a consistent speed - either faster or slower than the plastic and trash it’s collecting. In an effort to do this the activists will test three ideas.
The first test of the new system will involve attaching a sea anchor that decelerates the speed of the device. If that doesn’t work then the team will turn the device in the opposite direction and attach inflatable bags that will tow it faster than the garbage. Finally, if all else fails they will attach heavy fenders in an attempt to drag the system forward.
Hopeully one of these methods will work as intended, but even if they do get the system to work properly the organization still has a long way to go before successfully cleaning up the entire garbage patch. According to The Ocean Cleanup team’s online statement, they are “looking forward to what’s to come,” but are “prepared to encounter more unknowns .”
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