The inaugural test of the Ocean Cleanup Array is finally nigh. A trash-collecting dam that allows the ocean’s currents to bring surrounding debris to one central point, the OCA is slated begin its work in the second quarter of 2016 in the North Sea, just a few miles from the coast of the Netherlands and the company’s headquarters in Delft. The team behind the design will study the results of the test before giving the green light for the system’s debut in the waters between Japan and South Korea later in 2016.
Ocean Cleanup, about which Inhabitat has previously reported on many occassions, stated in a press release, “The main objective of the North Sea test is to monitor the effects of real-life sea conditions, with a focus on waves and currents.” The 100 meter-long barrier will be deployed for the first time in open waters and monitored closely through sensors and cameras. The team’s mission is to work out any complications which may arise from installing such a cumbersome barrier out on the open waters so they might come closer to their goal of tackling the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by the year 2020.
With over 5 trillion pieces of plastic circulating in our oceans, the system could not come at a better time. Its ability to passively collect debris using the power of the ocean’s currents – while avoiding harmful by-catch by allowing wildlife to flow underneath the structure while light, floating plastic becomes trapped – cuts costs on labor and increases effectiveness. A year-long study from 2014 confirmed how the system is a feasible solution for the world’s growing ocean trash crisis and even suggested it could help reduce the Great Pacific Garbage Patch by half in just ten years. By this time next year we will see how the system stacks up against the forces of the sea and if it will be the answer to ridding the oceans of our trash.
Images via Ocean Cleanup