A floating device created to clean up plastic from the ocean is finally doing its job, organizers say

A huge trash-collecting system designed to clean up plastic floating in the Pacific Ocean is finally picking up plastic, its inventor announced Wednesday....

Posted: Oct 3, 2019 8:57 AM

A huge trash-collecting system designed to clean up plastic floating in the Pacific Ocean is finally picking up plastic, its inventor announced Wednesday.

The Netherlands-based nonprofit the Ocean Cleanup says its latest prototype was able to capture and hold debris ranging in size from huge, abandoned fishing gear, known as "ghost nets," to tiny microplastics as small as 1 millimeter.

"Today, I am very proud to share with you that we are now catching plastics," Ocean Cleanup founder and CEO Boyan Slat said at a news conference in Rotterdam.

The Ocean Cleanup system is a U-shaped barrier with a net-like skirt that hangs below the surface of the water. It moves with the current and collects faster moving plastics as they float by. Fish and other animals will be able to swim beneath it.

The new prototype added a parachute anchor to slow the system and increased the size of a cork line on top of the skirt to keep the plastic from washing over it.

It's been deployed in "The Great Pacific Garbage Patch" -- a concentration of trash located between Hawaii and California that's about double the size of Texas, or three times the size of France.

Ocean Cleanup plans to build a fleet of these devices, and predicts it will be able to reduce the size of the patch by half every five years.

Garbage patches are formed by rotating ocean currents called "gyres" that pull marine debris into one location, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Several of these patches exist in the world's oceans.

There have been setbacks which Slat called "unscheduled learning opportunities," since the system set sail from San Francisco in September 2018.

In December, the group announced that the system wasn't picking up trash.

Then, a 60-foot section broke free in January and the whole thing had to be towed back to shore, along with more than 4,400 pounds of trash that it had collected.

Officials launched the new System 001/B in June and after some more trial and error, they got things working.

"We now have a self-contained system in the great pacific garbage patch that is using the natural forces of the ocean to passively catch and concentrate plastics, thereby confirming the most important principal behind the ocean cleanup system," Slat said.

There are still some hurdles to overcome before they can scale up the system.

He said the final system will need to be able to survive for years in the difficult ocean conditions and be able to hold the plastic for months between pickups, in order for the plan to be financially viable.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 515208

Reported Deaths: 10290
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34981557
DeSoto33342432
Hinds32718643
Jackson24896391
Rankin22553404
Lee16439245
Madison14949283
Jones14155248
Forrest13829260
Lauderdale12305324
Lowndes11348193
Lamar10687140
Pearl River9739244
Lafayette8867143
Hancock7847132
Washington7555169
Oktibbeha7228138
Monroe7055179
Pontotoc7026110
Warren6883178
Panola6783135
Neshoba6740210
Marshall6705142
Bolivar6468151
Union642898
Pike5941157
Alcorn5912107
Lincoln5539136
George510680
Prentiss507785
Tippah495483
Itawamba4877107
Scott478799
Adams4775125
Tate4774117
Leflore4747144
Copiah458095
Yazoo457892
Simpson4565117
Wayne443472
Covington434895
Sunflower4318106
Marion4295112
Coahoma4243109
Leake414090
Newton396082
Tishomingo386194
Grenada3786109
Stone365966
Jasper341266
Attala339590
Winston317992
Chickasaw317667
Clay312778
Clarke301695
Calhoun286349
Holmes272589
Smith269952
Yalobusha244647
Tallahatchie232353
Greene225149
Walthall222166
Lawrence220241
Perry214456
Amite210257
Webster206548
Noxubee188843
Montgomery182157
Carroll175241
Jefferson Davis174043
Tunica163539
Benton153239
Kemper145441
Choctaw137027
Claiborne134639
Humphreys132239
Franklin126430
Quitman107828
Wilkinson106139
Jefferson96934
Sharkey65321
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 847064

Reported Deaths: 16157
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1163702006
Mobile743001381
Madison53394737
Shelby38395371
Baldwin38140589
Tuscaloosa36096642
Montgomery34535782
Lee25639264
Calhoun22620519
Morgan22503408
Etowah20043520
Marshall18812317
Houston17754425
St. Clair16928358
Limestone16178220
Cullman16113304
Elmore15927295
Lauderdale15042307
Talladega14234301
DeKalb13033270
Walker12119380
Blount10756193
Autauga10531157
Jackson10191195
Coffee9431192
Colbert9356210
Dale9035192
Tallapoosa7283202
Russell709665
Chilton7077170
Escambia6961144
Covington6956195
Franklin6355108
Chambers5791142
Marion5428130
Dallas5299210
Pike5124109
Clarke485586
Lawrence4841130
Winston4784110
Geneva4649136
Bibb435294
Barbour370080
Butler3445101
Marengo342793
Monroe338066
Randolph337367
Pickens334689
Fayette331385
Henry320866
Cherokee319563
Hale318589
Crenshaw261577
Washington256852
Cleburne255460
Lamar253355
Clay251669
Macon245465
Conecuh193262
Coosa185647
Lowndes178268
Wilcox178138
Bullock152545
Perry141840
Sumter139741
Greene130245
Choctaw93328
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Partly Cloudy
58° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 58°
Columbus
Partly Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 59°
Oxford
Partly Cloudy
° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: °
Starkville
Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 55°
Rain coming in this weekend as a cold front moves through the area bringing cooler temperatures on into the start of next week.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather