The Ocean Cleanup, the brainchild of a 20-year-old Dutch entrepreneur, recently announced plans to deploy the longest floating structure in the history of the world in 2016.
The 2,000-meter system aims to collect floating plastic pollution off the coast of Tsushima, a Japanese island that sees garbage frequently wash up on its shores. The project would place a floating structure in currents that allow waste to naturally collect while avoiding marine life.
It's believed that there's about 8 million tons of plastic enter's the world's oceans every year — and according to one estimate, if nothing changes, the amount of plastic could reach 170 million tons by 2025. Asia is one of the biggest plastic polluters.
Boyan Slat, who founded the company and raised $2 million for his idea through a 2014 crowdfunding campaign, made the announcement at South Korea's Seoul Digital Forum last month.
"Not only will this first cleanup array contribute to cleaner waters and coasts but it simultaneously is an essential step towards our goal of cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch," Slat said. "This deployment will enable us to study the system’s efficiency and durability over time."
The company said the project would be the first of several increasingly large systems deployed over the next five years. Slat's ultimate goal is to set a 100-kilometer system afloat in the Pacific Ocean and collect about half of a massive swath of pollution between California and Hawaii.