The Ocean Cleanup, the Dutch foundation developing advanced technologies to rid the oceans of plastic, informed it has raised USD 21.7 million in donations since last November to start cleanup trials in the Pacific Ocean.
“This new contribution allows The Ocean Cleanup to initiate large-scale trials of its cleanup technology in the Pacific Ocean later this year,” the foundation said.
Details on this project and the start of the cleanup will be shared at an event at the Werkspoorkathedraal in Utrecht, the Netherlands, on May 11, according to The Ocean Cleanup.
The latest funding round is said to bring The Ocean Cleanup’s total funding since 2013 to USD 31.5 million.
Over the past four years, the foundation has been developing a passive plastic capturing technology which uses the ocean currents to catch and concentrate the plastic, reducing the theoretical cleanup time of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch from millennia to years.
“Our mission is to rid the world’s oceans of plastic, and this support is a major leap forward towards achieving this goal. Thanks to the generous support of … funders, the day we’ll be returning that first batch of plastic to shore is now in sight,” Boyan Slat, Founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, pointed out.
Last year, the Ocean Cleanup deployed a 100-meter-long barrier segment in the North Sea, 23 kilometers off the coast of the Netherlands, putting the design to the test in open waters for the first time.
The prototype is expected to show the foundation how the floating barrier fares in extreme weather at sea. The data gathered would enable engineers to develop a system fully resistant to severe conditions during the cleanup of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 2020.