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Ocean litter-pick off the Netherlands


Toxic Butts under a Creative Commons Licence

An ambitious project designed to rid the world’s oceans of plastic is due to begin its first test in open waters.

Over the coming months, researchers from the Ocean Clean Up will place a 100-kilometre-long floating barrier 23 kilometres off the Dutch coastline.

This method has the potential to revolutionize current clearance efforts of our seas, which are home to vast floating garbage dumps that cover several million kilometres.

Rather than seeking out the plastic, the floating barriers will allow ocean currents to deliver it.

During the test, the barrier, equipped with motion sensors and surveillance, will monitor the litter-pulling impact of rough seas and strong currents. If successful, a second trial will be launched in Japan towards the end of 2016.

The brainchild of Dutch entrepreneur Boyan Slat, the project speaks to a long-running concern of environmentalists. Slat raised over $2 million for research in 2014 – the most successful non-profit crowdfunded project in history.


Beulah Maud Devaney


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