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The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is now twice the size of Texas and contains 1.8 trillion pieces of trash floating in the ocean. The Ocean Cleanup is an ambitious non-profit committed to removing it, and on Saturday it launches its first system out to sea from the San Francisco Bay.
Dutch entrepreneur Boyan Slat came up with the idea when he was 16 years old.
"I went scuba diving in Greece and I actually saw more plastic bags than fish around me," said the Ocean Cleanup CEO and founder. "I wondered, why can't we just clean this up?"
He founded the organization in 2013 and the team has raised $35 million through crowdfunding campaigns and big donors like Marc Benioff and Peter Thiel.
System 001 is a 600 meter long float, with a 3 meter skirt and it's designed to corral plastic and debris. The collected garbage will then be removed by garbage truck-like ships.
The initial contraption will be used for testing and aims remove about 50 tons of the garbage, but the goal is to launch 60 systems to reduce the floating garbage patch by 50 percent in the next five years.