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The massive ocean cleanup device invented by a 24-year-old is still leaking plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

<ul><li> More than 320 million metric tons of <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/category/plastics?utm_source=intl&utm_medium=ingest">plastic</a> are produced every year, with much of it accumulating in <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/category/oceans?utm_source=intl&utm_medium=ingest">oceans</a> . <li><li> <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/category/the-ocean-cleanup?utm_source=intl&utm_medium=ingest">The Ocean Cleanup</a> , founded by a Dutch innovator named <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/category/boyan-slat?utm_source=intl&utm_medium=ingest">Boyan Slat</a> , is trying to clean up plastic in the <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/great-pacific-garbage-patch-view-study-plastic-2018-3?utm_source=intl&utm_medium=ingest">Great Pacific Garbage Patch</a> , atrash-filled vortex that’s more than twice the size of Texas. <li><li> More than eight weeks after Slat deployed a 2,000-foot-long cleanup tool in the area, the device is still struggling to pick up plastic. <li><li> The Ocean Cleanup said more testing needs to be done to determine the problem, but the group remains confident that it will achieve its goal. <li></ul>

<p class="">It’s been about eight weeks since <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/boyan-slats-ocean-cleanup-to-clear-the-pacific-garbage-patch-2015-11?utm_source=intl&utm_medium=ingest" id="9e578a75-0799-3650-a48c-6fb3148f3e32"> 24-year-old Dutch innovator </a> Boyan Slat deployed his massive cleanup array in the Pacific Ocean , and there’s still no sign of success.</p>

<p class="">In October, the 2,000-foot-long device, known as "Wilson," was supposed to begin harvesting plastic from the <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/category/great-pacific-garbage-patch?utm_source=intl&utm_medium=ingest" id="f43bf2ad-71ab-34e9-a1ed-3303bc7db28b"> Great Pacific Garbage Patch </a> , a <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/great-pacific-garbage-patch-view-study-plastic-2018-3?utm_source=intl&utm_medium=ingest" id="a11a3837-437f-3dd0-a79b-ad7846a278d3"> trash-filled vortex </a> that’s more than twice the size of Texas.</p>

<p class=""><strong> Read more: </strong> <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/ocean-cleanup-remove-plastic-great-pacific-garbage-patch-2018-9?utm_source=intl&utm_medium=ingest" id="95daaa5c-faa8-33d3-aafa-ef85d9e68f8e"> What the creators of the giant plastic-cleaning system headed to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch say to critics who doubt them </a></p>

<p class="">By the end of November, Slat’s organization, The Ocean Cleanup, <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/great-pacific-garbage-patch-ocean-cleanup-device-spilling-plastic-2018-12?r=UK&IR=T?utm_source=intl&utm_medium=ingest" id="f862c54b-5969-349b-ac91-70d2c1cc2667"> released an update </a> saying they had encountered a major problem: Wilson was spilling the plastic it had collected, either because the system was moving too slowly or vibrations near the mouth of the system were pushing the plastic away.</p>

<p class="">Now The Ocean Cleanup reports that the system will require further testing.</p>

<p class="">"This is a challenge we did not predict," the organization <a href="https://www.theoceancleanup.com/updates/testing-continues-to-understand-system-behavior/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=toc_system001update&utm_term=web&utm_content=button_testingcontinues_19-12-2018" id="ac02d194-5527-3be6-a6b3-420cc972f912"> wrote in a December 18 post </a> on its website. "Upon further inspection, Wilson might have a greater impact on the currents carrying the plastic than we initially projected."</p>

<figure class="image" align=""> <img src="http://ocdn.eu/images/pulscms/NWY7MDA_/1344d973-4998-42c6-bb4e-596ad7285db4.jpeg" alt="180423_Screen_Assembly 7_2 The Ocean Cleanup"> <figcaption>180423_Screen_Assembly 7_2 The Ocean Cleanup</figcaption> </figure>

<p class="">While the organization still believes that the device isn’t moving fast enough, they’ve struggled to find a way to increase its speed.</p>

<p class="">The next step is to add dye to the water to observe how it flows near the system. The patterns will be recorded by a drone hovering overhead.</p>

<p class="">The Ocean Cleanup will also deploy a vessel known as "Eve" to measure the speed of the current, and how it may differ from the speed of the plastic.</p>

<p class="">Despite recent challenges, the organization believes its end goal to collect 50 tons of plastic within one year is still in sight.</p>

<p class="">"Most of the design has withstood the tests of the Pacific," they wrote. "For the beta phase of a technology, this is already a success."</p>

<figure class="image" align=""> <img src="http://ocdn.eu/images/pulscms/Mzk7MDA_/8b8c9bbb-62fc-4980-955a-c47cd5429898.jpeg" alt="boyan slat the ocean cleanup"> <figcaption>boyan slat the ocean cleanup</figcaption> </figure>

<p class="">Plastic is entering oceans in increasing amounts, and <a href="http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_The_New_Plastics_Economy.pdf" id="b8d44bd9-893a-34a1-afb0-fb44c4e66936"> scientists expect it to outweigh all fish in oceans </a> by 2050.</p>

<p class="">In addition to killing marine life, the garbage is destroying ecosystems that people rely on to live. Our food supply is affected, too, as people eat <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/srep03263" id="2f2f5483-d579-3698-aadc-ae521c9c06e0"> fish that have absorbed chemicals </a> from plastic.</p>

<p class=""><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/boyan-slat-ocean-cleanup-launch-into-pacific-on-september-8-2018-7?utm_source=intl&utm_medium=ingest" id="13528a9b-bfd3-35d8-a0c1-bd7bffe77f42"> Several experts have expressed concerns </a> about Slat’s device, saying it could cause more harm than benefit.</p>

<p class="">Slat defended his device <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/ocean-cleanup-remove-plastic-great-pacific-garbage-patch-2018-9?utm_source=intl&utm_medium=ingest" id="a25c478d-94bd-37ba-a34b-8e1474eb98c9"> in a previous interview with Business Insider </a> , claiming that every new technology is met with some skepticism.</p>

<p class="">"There will always be people saying things can’t be done," he said. "And history shows that time and time again things ‘couldn’t be done’ and they were done."</p>

<ul><li> <strong> Read more about The Ocean Cleanup: </strong> <li><li> <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/ocean-cleanup-plastic-great-pacific-garbage-patch-2018-9?utm_source=intl&utm_medium=ingest">The massive plastic-cleaning device invented by a 24-year-old to clean the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is finally being put to the test. Here’s what it’s up against.</a> <li><li> <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/boyan-slat-ocean-cleanup-launch-2018-2017-5?utm_source=intl&utm_medium=ingest">A 22-year-old is moving ahead with a controversial plan to trap plastic floating in the great Pacific garbage patch</a> <li></ul>

<p class="">NOW WATCH: <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/psychology-trick-curb-appetite-lose-weight-2016-8?utm_source=intl&utm_medium=ingest" id="839320fb-dcc4-33d2-adf9-b515bb5de00f"> A Harvard psychologist reveals the secret to curbing your appetite </a></p>

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