The Ocean Cleanup project begins final deployment

The Ocean Cleanup has launched its plastic extraction system from San Francisco Bay ahead of final testing before it travels to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to begin cleanup operations after half a decade of development.

The Dutch marine litter project, founded by Boyan Slat in 2013, aims to tackle marine plastic pollution, particularly in the Pacific. Ocean plastic pollution is one of the major environmental challenges of our age, with experts estimating that 12.2 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean every year, with 140,000 tonnes concentrated in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

The foundation launched its mobile drifting system (System 001) on 8 September, and in the next few days it will arrive at a test location in the Pacific, 250-350 nautical miles offshore, where it will be assembled in its operational V-shape configuration for the first time, before being tested and trialed over the course of two weeks.

If all goes to plan, System 001 will then be towed the remaining 1,000 nautical miles to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which could take up to three weeks. Once System 001 has reached the patch, it will once again be deployed in its operational V-shape and the cleanup operation will commence.