Call it a Roomba for the ocean. A young Dutch innovator has come up with a boom invention to help the Pacific Ocean rid itself of some of the 8 million tons of plastics.
Boyan Slat's plan is to set up enormous floating barriers in rotating tidal locations around the globe (called gyres), and let the plastics naturally flow into the "corrals," reports Gizmodo. Unlike nets which entangle and can kill sea life, these enormous, V-shaped buffers anchored by floating booms are no threat to ocean creatures.
The current will flow beneath the booms, where animals will be carried through safely. The floating plastic will be concentrated at the surface for easy removal.
The system, created by Slat's non-profit Ocean Cleanup, will be deployed next year. The first massive plastics-catching barrier — 6,500 feet wide — will be placed near the Japanese island of Tsushima between Japan's Nagasaki prefecture and South Korea. If the pilot system works, more of the floats will be placed elsewhere in the Pacific.
Ocean Cleanup is also sending 50 vessels this August to scour the area between Hawaii and California to make the first high-resolution map of plastic floating in the Pacific.