Boyan Slat, cleanup system inventor — Vice Media/Manuel Freudt
Researchers returned on Sunday from mapping and sampling a massive swirling cluster of trash floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, as the Dutch-borne crew works to refine a clean-up strategy it will roll out globally.
The crew of the Ocean Cleanup, backed by volunteers in sailboats, ventured to areas of the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”, a swirling mass of human-linked debris spanning hundreds of miles of open sea where plastic outnumbers organisms by factors in the hundreds.
The debris, concentrated by circular, clockwise ocean currents within an oblong-shaped “convergence zone”, lies near the Hawaiian Islands, about midway between Japan and the U.S. West Coast. The trash ranges from microscopic pieces of plastic to large chunks.
Working for about a month, the group collected samples as small as a grain of sand and as large as discarded fishing nets…
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