Ocean Cleanup is currently towing an updated version of its rubbish collection system into the Pacific Ocean.
The 600m boom will be positioned in the Great Pacific Gyre. Located between California and Hawaii, this confluence of ocean currents serves to collect floating waste into a concentrated area.
The original version of the U-shaped boom broke apart late last year due to waves and weather.
The U-shaped boom has a three-metre net skirt hanging under the float system. Driven by wind and waves the boom collects waste, which is then picked up by a support vessel every six weeks.
The second version is smaller "by a factor of three" and more modular. The skirt was detached from the pipe and brought forward to reduce potential for fatigue fractures. Last year the system broke when a stress crack formed at a weld point attaching the screen to pipe.
A parachute and six buoys have also been added to better control the speed of the Cleanup system. It was determined that the speed of the system needed to be more consistent in relation to the floating waste.
While the nets collect garbage, marine life can safely swim under the waste capture mechanism.
Once collected, the waste is then sent for recycling.
Solar powered lights, cameras and satellite communications help the support vessel to located the boom.
In a tweet about the ongoing operation, Boyan Slat, creator of the Ocean Cleanup project said: “Hopefully nature doesn’t have too many surprises in store for us this time.”
Scientists estimate there are 1.8tn individual pieces of plastic in what is also known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.