Experts predict that the machine can collect half of the detritus in the patch, which is about 40,000 meters in the cradle.

Scientists are preparing to operate the world’s first machine to clean up the planet’s largest mass of plastic waste in the Pacific Ocean. Initially imagined by a teenager, the system will be sent to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch between Hawaii and California this summer and will recycle an estimated 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic. In the Patch the machine will be tested for the first time since its discovery in 1997.

Experts predict that the machine can collect half of the detritus in the patch, which is about 40,000 meters in the cradle. During the past April and May, they had been busy assembling giant tubes that would sit on the sea surface and form the frame of the machineThe Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) spans an area of 617,763 square kilometers. It is more than twice the size of France and, according to research last month, has at least 79,000 tons of plastic. The majority consist of “ghost gear”, such as nets and ropes from illegal fishing vessels, which are abandoned and lost pieces of fishing equipment.

According to scientific research, this “ghost gear” kills more than 100,000 whales, dolphins and seals every year. Needless to say how much the human factor changes things. According to the US-based Plastic Oceans Foundation, more than 8 million tons of plastic are thrown into our oceans every year.


90 percent of the plastic parts in the world can never be recycled due to consumers’ mistakes and carelessness. This system was founded by the 18-year-old Dutch inventor Boyan Slat, an aeronautical and aerospace engineering student to overcome this largest waste mass in the Pacific. The system was designed by a non-profit technology company called The Ocean Cleanup.

“The problem of plastic waste has always been described as something that cannot be solved.” “Okay, we can’t clean it, the best we can do is not make it worse”. “This is a very annoying message.” Slat said. “My real hope is that ocean cleanliness in this century can be a symbol of our use of technology to make things better.”

The cleaning contract consists of 1219200 meters of pipes which will be brought together to form a long and curved tube. Interestingly enough, these pipes and the entire machine are made of plastic. When filled with air, they will swim with a curve on the surface of the ocean. They will have nylon sieves hanging down to form a giant floating dustpan to catch the plastic waste collected when they are carried by currents.

The fish can swim under them and escape smoothly. The Ocean Cleanup team aims to start the system in weeks from the San Francisco Bay shores, start in July and then expand. They plan to buy 60 giant floating buckets, each extending one mile from one end to the other. The boats will go out every six to eight weeks to collect debris.

Slat was 16 years old and was still in school when he was diving in Greece and first saw the amount of plastic thrown into the sea: he stated that there were more bags than fish. Two years later he found a solution to this situation, six months later he left the university and established The Ocean Cleanup as a company. He has managed to raise £ 1.57 million through a massive funding campaign. Then, with a total investment of £ 28.56 million, the company includes 65 paid employees, mainly researchers and engineers. The 23-year-old Slat says the first plastic shore will be an important milestone.

We have created this problem as humanity, so I think it is our responsibility to help solve the problem, he says. Slat tells Fast Company, the US commercial website: “We need to start when most plastics are not shredded. Otherwise, this means that the amount of microplastic that can be difficult to collect in the next few decades can be ten times or 100 times. Even though we’re late, everything’s just beginning.”