Giant ‘Pac-Man’ System Gets Started On World’s Largest Ocean Cleanup
When you think of Pac-Man, you think of that little spherical head munching down on white pills as a "waka-waka" sound is paired with the iconic electronic jingle.
However, the name of the 80s game has been used to describe the world's largest ocean cleanup programme, which is now going full steam ahead in the Pacific Ocean in a bid to tackle the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Just like Pac-Man loved munching on those little white dots, so this project will deploy a 2,000-foot unmanned floating boom into the water to eat up all the trash and store it inside.
According to The Daily Mail, Ocean Cleanup - a non profit led by Dutch inventor Boyan Slat - launched its $20m system yesterday (September 15) from the San Francisco Bay and will test it out for several weeks before introducing it on a wider scale to sort out that mass of plastic.
The device will gather plastic material which has infiltrated the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii. It's reportedly two times the size of the state of Texas, making it the world's largest trash heap, and has been causing all kinds of issues for the surrounding habitat.
The mass was discovered all the way back in 1997 and much of the plastic is from the fishing industry in the form of so called 'ghost gear' like abandoned nets and ropes that are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of whales, dolphins and seals every year.
Boyan, who is now 24, was 16 when he was moved to take action on the world's plastic pollution problem, spurred by a scuba dive in the Mediterranean Sea where he saw more plastic bags than fish. Two years later, he went on to launch Ocean Cleanup.
"The plastic is really persistent and it doesn't go away by itself and the time to act is now," said Boyan.
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And act he did, by launching Ocean Cleanup and working with a team to invent this incredible device. The ship pulling the pipe-shaped barrier will see the floating boom, called System 001, curve into a U-shape by the current as it gobbles up plastic trash on route.
It's important to note that the screen is designed to collect the plastic but not sea animals, which can swim safely under the barrier.
Boyan's organisation forecasts that in five years, the initiative will have cleaned up half of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which could turn around the damage caused by this trash heap in a massive way.
Now the boom will undergo two weeks of testing and if all goes well, it will be taken to the patch to get to work in October.
The company posted photos of their trial set up on Saturday, along with the statement: "'Clear blue skies and calm waters, perfect conditions to perform the first installation of System 001 at the test site. The Pacific Trial phase has begun."
Let's hope that the garbage-gorging Pac-Man doesn't come across any ghosts along the way, because that plastic patch is only going to get bigger unless something is done.
Ocean Cleanup carries a great message and we commend them for their actions. LADbible has claimed the world's first country made entirely of trash to highlight the issue of plastic pollution in our oceans.
Get involved and ensure the world's first country made of trash is its last.
Find out more here
Become a citizen of the Trash Isles here
Donate to our charity partner, Plastic Oceans Foundation here
Featured Image Credit: Ocean Cleanup/Facebook
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