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.
…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.