Pacific Ocean rubbish collection device to be brought to shore for repairs
The boom device had been in place since October.
A rubbish collection device deployed to corral plastic litter floating in the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii has broken apart and will be hauled back to dry land for repairs.
Boyan Slat, who launched the Pacific Ocean clean-up project, told NBC News last week that the 2,000-foot long floating boom will be towed 800 miles to Hawaii.
If it cannot be repaired there, it will be loaded on a barge and returned to its home port of Alameda, California.
The boom broke apart under constant wind and waves in the Pacific.
Following a recent turn of events, we have decided to return System 001 to shore for repair and upgrades. Read more here: https://t.co/LhYST7yH96— The Ocean Cleanup (@TheOceanCleanup) December 31, 2018
Mr Slat said he was disappointed, but not discouraged and pledged that operations would resume as soon as possible.
“This is an entirely new category of machine that is out there in extremely challenging conditions,” the 24-year-old Dutch inventor said.
“We always took into account that we might have to take it back and forth a few times.
“So it’s really not a significant departure from the original plan.”
Previously Mr Slat said the boom was moving slower than the plastic, allowing the rubbish to float away.
First plastic pic.twitter.com/53nSlLSytf— Boyan Slat (@BoyanSlat) October 24, 2018
A ship towed the U-shaped barrier in September from San Francisco to the so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an island of rubbish twice the size of Texas.
It had been in place since the end of October.
The plastic barrier with a tapered 10-foot-deep (three-metre-deep) screen is intended to act like a coastline, trapping some of the 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic that scientists estimate are swirling in the patch while allowing marine life to safely swim beneath it.
Mr Slat has said he hopes one day to deploy 60 of the devices to skim plastic debris off the surface of the ocean.