A Setback for Cleaning the Ocean of Plastic

Dolphin at Marineland, FL
Photo by Donna Kaluzniak
My last blog post was about The Ocean Cleanup, a massive project for removing plastic debris from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP).

After successfully completing Pacific trials in September 2018, the long trip to the GPGP began. On October 16, 2018 System 001, nicknamed "Wilson," was deployed.

After tweaking and testing Wilson through November and December, it appeared the system was attracting and concentrating plastic, but could not retain it. At the end of December, the crew found that an 18-meter end-section of the system became detached.

The December 31, 2018 Project Update noted the crew planned to return to port earlier than planned, and as soon as weather permitted. This allows them to make necessary upgrades to the system.

Even with the malfunction, Wilson and the crew are bringing back 2,000 kilograms of plastic recovered by the system and from ghost net fishing.

Some setbacks are to be expected for a huge and important project like this, using new technologies. Keep track of The Ocean Cleanup on their website and on Twitter at @TheOceanCleanup.


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