A giant floating, trash collecting boom is en-route to return to the Pacific ocean after necessary repairs. Initially placed between California and Hawaii in 2018, the boom broke apart due to constant wind and wave pressure and had to be brought back to mainland for service. The 2,000 foot device is now ready to return to the high seas and expected to collect five tons of plastic trash every month.

The project aims to clean up what is known as the Pacific Garbage Patch, a widespread issue of marine debris in the Pacific Ocean. Despite dramatic images of heaps of garbage floating on top of the sea, the reality is that the majority of plastic in the northern Pacific is already broken down into micro-plastic particles so small they can be difficult to see and hard to photograph but detrimental to marine life.

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The C-shaped boom mimics a natural coastline and uses the currents to collect plastic garbage. It has solar lights, satellite antennas, cameras and sensors in order to ensure the team behind the project– the Ocean Cleanup Project– can find it at all times. The contraption also has a “skirt” that stretched almost 10 feet below the surface to collect plastic particles floating just below the water level. The boom does not negatively impact marine wildlife, as the majority can easily swim below the skirt.

The Ocean Cleanup Project plans to use the boom to collect about five tons of garbage every month, which is collected and towed by a collection vessel.

“Hopefully nature doesn’t have too many surprises in store for us this time,” tweeted Boyan Slat, founder of the Ocean Cleanup Project. “Either way, we’re set to learn a lot from this campaign.”

via The Guardian

Image via The Ocean Cleanup