Whoever has played Pac-Man before immediately think of the giant yellow spherical head munching down on food known as “waka-waka” as the background noise and jiggle goes on to encourage the gamer to play on.
The name of the game has been paralleled to the Pacific Ocean’s cleanup project that is in full steam mode, attempting to mitigate the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Similar to Pac-Man, the project will deploy a 2,000 foot unmanned floating boom in the water in order for it to eat up all the garbage around it, or rather to trap it inside.
According to The Daily Mail, the cleanup is a non-profit project led by Boyan Slat, a Dutch inventor. The project launched its $20 million system on September 15th in the San Francisco bay where it will be tested for several weeks about its effectiveness in collecting trash and plastic bags.
The device will collect trash and plastic materials around the area of California-Hawaii which is estimated to be two times the size of Texas, making it the world’s largest trash heap, causing disturbances in the environment and the surrounding habitat as well as marine life.
The mass discovered in 1997 constitutes mostly of leftover fishing industry devices, the so-called ‘ghost gear’ like rope and nets that are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of whales and dolphins annually.
Boyan, a now 24 year old guy, was 16 when he decided to take action on the matter as he was scuba diving in the Mediterranean Sea.
“The plastic is really persistent and it doesn’t go away by itself and the time to act is now,” said Boyan.
And for sure he did act. Together with a team of experts, they developed the Ocean Cleanup project. The ship, pulling the pipe-shaped barrier will observe as the floating boom, called System 001 curves into a U-shape as it collects plastic trash.
It is important to note that it has been designed in such a way as to only swallow plastic rather than animals. It is projected that in a matter of five years, the device will have cleaned up most of the waste in the Pacific. If it all goes well, the boom will be implemented in October.
The company has posted photos of the pilot project 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.”
Ocean Cleanup is a great initiative and we certainly hope that similar projects will follow should we wish to raise our voice for a cleaner environment.