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Millions in Donations Allow Ocean Cleanup to Tackle Great Pacific Garbage Patch

© AP Photo / Gemunu AmarasingheIn this Aug. 13, 2015 photo, a plastic bottle lies among other debris washed ashore on the Indian Ocean beach in Uswetakeiyawa, north of Colombo, Sri Lanka. For years along the Cornish coast of Britain, Atlantic Ocean currents have carried thousands of Lego pieces onto the beaches. In Kenya, cheap flip-flop sandals are churned relentlessly in the Indian Ocean surf, until finally being spit out onto the sand. In Bangladesh, fishermen are haunted by floating corpses that the Bay of Bengal sometimes puts in their path. And now, perhaps, the oceans have revealed something else: parts of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, the jetliner that vanished 17 months ago with 239 people on board.
In this Aug. 13, 2015 photo, a plastic bottle lies among other debris washed ashore on the Indian Ocean beach in Uswetakeiyawa, north of Colombo, Sri Lanka. For years along the Cornish coast of Britain, Atlantic Ocean currents have carried thousands of Lego pieces onto the beaches. In Kenya, cheap flip-flop sandals are churned relentlessly in the Indian Ocean surf, until finally being spit out onto the sand. In Bangladesh, fishermen are haunted by floating corpses that the Bay of Bengal sometimes puts in their path. And now, perhaps, the oceans have revealed something else: parts of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, the jetliner that vanished 17 months ago with 239 people on board. - Sputnik International
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The Ocean Cleanup reports that it has raised $21.7 million in donations since November, a sum that will allow the Dutch foundation to begin preparing for large-scale trials of its cleanup technology in the Pacific Ocean.

The foundation was established four years ago in the Netherlands by entrepreneur Boyan Slat, who was 18 at the time. It currently employs nearly 65 engineers and researchers working on advanced technologies to tackle the problem of extreme plastic pollution of the world's oceans.

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The team has developed a method that uses a network of large, solid floating barriers that act like an artificial coastline, enabling ocean currents to catch and concentrate trash. The company claims the technology, already tested last year in the North Sea, will reduce the theoretical cleanup time of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch from millennia down to years.

The latest investment pushes The Ocean Cleanup's total amount raised since 2013 to $31.5 million. Most of this significant contribution consists of donations from San Francisco-based philanthropists Marc and Lynne Benioff and an anonymous donor.

The money will be used to launch the first experimental cleanup system in the Pacific Ocean later this year. It will represent the most significant milestone on the road to the full-scale cleanup of the world's oceans.

"Our mission is to rid the world's oceans of plastic, and this support is a major leap forward towards achieving this goal," Slat said in a statement.

"Thanks to the generous support of these funders, the day we'll be returning that first batch of plastic to shore is now in sight."

Last fall, The Ocean Cleanup found 1,000 large bits of plastic in two hours during their first aerial reconnaissance mission over the Pacific Ocean.    

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