Recently, The Ocean Cleanup, a Dutch startup that develops technologies to rid the oceans of plastic, announced that 101,353kg of plastic waste was removed from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch(GPGP) by sweeping an area of the sea of over 3000km2. GPGP is a collection of marine debris in the North Pacific Ocean.

The GPGP, also known as Pacific Trash Vortex, is an area between Hawaii and California. This is where plastic and other human-made litter and debris accumulate.

Dutch Startup Removed Quarter-Million Pounds Of Plastic Waste From Great Pacific Garbage Patch
The Ocean Cleanup project

According to recent studies, about 8 million metric tons of plastic garbage enter the world’s oceans yearly. It is equal to dumping a garbage truck of plastic waste into the sea every minute.

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In a release, the startup said they had removed nearly 1/1000 of garbage from the GPGP, which is more than the combined weight of two Boeing 737-800s. According to Boyan Slat, the founder and CEO of the company, the startup’s current cleanup platform called System 002, has collected 101,353kg of plastic since being deployed in August 2021.

The company previously removed 7,173kg of plastic using a prototype, now, its total collection has reached 108,526 kilograms.

“It has now collected 101,353 kg of plastic over 45 extractions, sweeping an area of the ocean of over 3,000 square kilometers – comparable to the size of Luxembourg or Rhode Island,” Ocean Cleanup said in the release.

“Added to the 7,173 kg of plastic captured by our previous prototype systems, The Ocean Cleanup has now collected 108,526 kg of plastic from the “GPGP”—more than the combined weight of two and a half Boeing 737-800s, or the dry weight of a space shuttle,” Slat wrote on his website.

System 002 works by dragging a tensioned, artificial coastline through areas of the GPGP where plastic has accumulated. Two vessels pull the system on each end to form a U-shaped flexible barrier that collects the floating plastic waste into a retention zone.

Dutch Startup Removed Quarter-Million Pounds Of Plastic Waste From Great Pacific Garbage Patch
The Ocean Cleanup project

“I’m proud of The Ocean Cleanup team for crossing this milestone, which is all the more remarkable considering System 002 is still an experimental system. Now that our technology is validated, we are ready to move on to our new and expanded System 03, which is expected to capture plastic at a rate potentially ten times higher than System 002 through a combination of increased size, improved efficiency, and increased efficiency  System 03, which is expected to capture plastic at a rate potentially ten times higher than System 002 through a combination of increased size, improved efficiency, and increased uptime. Our transition to System 03 is starting soon,” Slat said.

“Right now, we’re scaling up to the next phase in our cleanup with System 03. Onwards to adding another zero behind our catch figures!” the startup said.

“Thank you to our determined offshore crew and supporters worldwide; together, we have now officially cleaned up 1/1000th of the GPGP,” the startup wrote on Twitter.