A giant ‘pac man’ like invention is due to arrive in the middle of the Pacific Ocean today to start gobbling up the tonnes upon tonnes of plastic waste that have been allowed to accumulate there.
Comprised of a 600-metre tube which floats on the surface of the water, it will essentially lasso rubbish that can then be removed for recycling and reuse.
The vessel is set to arrive in the Great Pacific garbage patch – the largest accumulation of ocean plastic in the world located between Hawaii and California – on Tuesday.
The patch is estimated to cover a surface area three times larger than France.
Thanks to an array of sensors on board the boom – which is made by The Ocean Cleanup foundation – a message will be sent to a central office when it has reached full capacity.
Once the message has been received, a specialised cleanup vessel will be sent to the boom to collect the rubbish using a conventional net. The rubbish will then be taken back to shore for recycling and reuse.
Ocean Cleanup founder Boyan Slat, 24, dropped out of his aerospace engineering studies in 2013 to invent and develop the solution.
“What we are doing is unprecedented. There has never been a cleanup system of this magnitude deployed in the ocean,” he said.
Slat hopes to build around 60 of these booms which will stretch kilometres across the Pacific Ocean and could rid the ocean of half of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in five years.