Last fall The Ocean Cleanup found 1,000 large pieces of plastic in two hours in the Pacific Ocean during their first aerial reconnaissance mission. Today the Dutch foundation announced they’ve raised $21.7 million, and can now begin large-scale trials of their passive plastic capturing technology – in the Pacific – as soon as this year.


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The Pacific Ocean, plagued by the Texas-sized Great Pacific Garbage Patch, desperately needs to be cleaned up. The Ocean Cleanup is ready to tackle the problem with their plastic gathering technology tested in the North Sea thanks to new funding amounting to $21.7 million. Investors include Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne Benioff and entrepreneur Peter Thiel.

Related: World’s first ocean trash recon mission is complete – and the results are way worse than we thought

Founder and CEO Boyan Slat said in a statement, “Our mission is to rid the world’s oceans of plastic, and this support is a major leap forward towards achieving this goal. Thanks to the generous support of these funders, the day we’ll be returning that first batch of plastic to shore is now in sight.”

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The Ocean Cleanup’s technology draws on ocean currents to collect trash and could reduce the theoretical cleanup time of plastic in the Pacific Ocean from millennia down to years – their Ocean Cleanup Array could scoop up almost half of the patch’s garbage in 10 years. When they launch their technology in the Pacific later this year, it will be the first experimental cleanup system in that ocean, according to the foundation.

The Ocean Cleanup will share more details at the Werkspoorkathedraal, an exhibition in the Netherlands, on May 11 at 2:00 PM EST. According to their website the talk will unveil The Next Phase and share “what we’ve been working on for the past two years, and what will be happening next.” They’ll be live streaming the event on their website.

+ The Ocean Cleanup

Images courtesy of The Ocean Cleanup