Ocean Cleanup project readies North Sea garbage collection test

Ocean Cleanup Project (Photo: @TheOceanCleanup/Twitter)Ocean Cleanup Project (Photo: @TheOceanCleanup/Twitter)

Delft student Boyan Slat's Ocean Cleanup project will be doing its first real world test just off the coast of the Netherlands in the North Sea in the second quarter of 2016, the project announced on Wednesday.

The Ocean Cleanup will deploy a 100 meter long barrier segment in the North Sea, 23 kilometers off the Dutch coast, to collect plastic waste using the sea's own currents. The test will be closely monitored by cameras and sensors, paying particular attention to the waves and currents and the motions of the barrier.

The results of this test will be used to help de-risk the Ocean Cleanup's first operational cleanup system, planned to be launched off the coast of Tsushima Island between Japan and South Korea in the second half of 2016. Plastic pollution is a particular concern in that stretch of ocean.

Both the North Sea test and the larger test near Tsushima Island are aimed at furthering the Ocean Cleanup towards their ultimate goal of developing a passive technology to clean up the world's oceanic patches. The team plans to deploy a large scale system in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 2020.

This project made Boyan Slat the youngest ever winner of the United Nations' Champion of the Earth award in October 2014.