First Floating Dam to Collect Plastic Oceanic Garbage Awaits Test-Run



A large floating dam that traps plastic bags, bottles and other waste choking the world’s oceans will be tested at sea for the first time in 2016, the Ocean Cleanup foundation said.

While most ocean waste projects try to collect plastic waste with boats that end up inadvertently endangering ocean life. The innovative new dam, scheduled for deployment in the second quarter of 2016, will instead use currents to round up waves of garbage—bags, bottles, and other waste—while also letting sea creatures through. Passive, safe collection is the idea.

“The main objective of the North Sea test is to monitor the effects of real-life sea conditions, with a focus on waves and currents. The motions of the barrier and the loads on the system will be monitored by cameras and sensors,” said Ocean Cleanup, the foundation behind the project, in a press release.

“It will be the first time our design will be put to the test in openwaters,” the foundation said of the 100 metre-long (328 feet) barrier segment that will be deployed 23 kilometres off the coast of The Netherlands in the second quarter of the year.


By 2020, the Ocean Clean project hopes to have installed a 100-kilometre-long V-shaped floating barrier in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch—a vortex in the North Pacific where trash collects.

Each arm of the V would consist of a screen three metres deep that blocks waste and directs it to a central point where it can be collected for recycling.

The North Sea test will help our engineers to de-risk the Coastal Pilot, our first operational cleanup system planned to be deployed off the coast of Tsushima Island, Japan. In order to be able to make full use of the North Sea test results, the go-ahead for the Coastal Pilot will be pushed back to the second half of 2016.

Both tests are a part of The Ocean Cleanup’s efforts to develop a passive technology to clean up the world’s oceanic garbage patches, testing and iterating the floating barrier design. The North Sea test will be helping to ensure the effectiveness and durability once the large-scale system will be deployed in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 2020.



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