A foundation working to clean up the world’s oceans is set to start by tackling the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the first half of next year.
The Ocean Cleanup has accelerated plans by two years after devising a new long-distance floating boon to capture plastic bags, bottles and other waste.
Engineers had originally designed the boons to be anchored to the sea floor, but the new design will feature floating anchors that lie underwater.
Boyan Slat, the 22-year-old Dutch founder of the Ocean Cleanup, told AP that the free-floating design would drift with the currents and the wast.
“We always work with nature,” Slat said. “So instead of going after the plastic, we let the plastic come to us, saving time, energy and cost.”
Once enough rubbish has accumulated within the barriers, it will be fished out of the water and shipped back to shore for recycling.
In the next five years, the team hopes to have cleared half of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a vast area where ocean currents and rubbish converges.
Slat’s foundation has raised $21.7m since November, with investors including Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff and Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel.