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Garbage Patch Cleanup Starts Here

The Ocean Cleanup Project, founded by Boyan Slat in the Netherlands in 2013, started as an idea to remove plastic from the world’s oceans and is now becoming a reality on the shores of Alameda. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the North Pacific Gyre is one of the largest, most studied of the garbage patches, making it an ideal place to start this major undertaking. In addition to the system’s being fabricated in the Bay Area, as reported last May, local philanthropists Marc and Linda Benioff of Salesforce provided major funding, with additional funding from Silicon Valley entrepreneur Peter Thiel.

The Bay didn’t look like this on Sunday, but, in this artist’s rendering, The Ocean Cleanup is depicting the departure of the 2,000-ft-long structure, which we’d guess, from the calm water and sun to the east, is wisely timed for early morning.

© 2018 The Ocean Cleanup

The City of Alameda has leased space to The Ocean Cleanup Project on Alameda Point, formerly the Alameda Naval Air Station. The innovative boom system is initially planned at 600 meters and will be constructed and assembled on Seaplane Lagoon, which was previously home to Artemis Racing and Nelson’s Marine. With Alameda’s long history as an active working waterfront, it’s an ideal location to support ocean cleanup and put the city’s unique waterfront resources to use.

Assembly of the first system will start next month, and it will be deployed into the lagoon with the hope of sending it to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in mid-2018. Many racers in the Transpac and Pacific Cup have had to dodge marine debris while sailing to Hawaii, and have helped clean it up and provide data collection on the way back to the Mainland.

If it ever rains in Northern California the runoff will take this trash and much more from local streams to the Bay and then the gyre to be cleaned up by The Ocean Cleanup. Obviously it would be best to prevent it from getting to the Bay in the first place.

latitude/John
©2018Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The news release also included a paragraph that we’re sure is designed to help Google search results and general public appeal of the whole story, so we thought we’d better include it too:

“Next to Alameda’s major historical military significance, it was here that the famous car chase scene in The Matrix Reloaded was filmed, and it was home to some of the best experiments of my favorite childhood TV show, Myth Busters," said Boyan Slat. “We’re honored to be allowed to use this site as the assembly yard for the world’s first ocean cleanup system. Hopefully, we will make some history here as well.”

To the best of our knowledge Kim Kardashian has nothing to do with this story, but we think including her name will help our Google search results.

This straw will be headed for the Pacific Garbage Patch with the next rain. If we all stopped using straws then Boyan wouldn’t have to spend millions of dollars to clean them up. 

latitude/John
©2018Latitude 38 Media, LLC

In a related story last Friday we asked if any readers were helping by intercepting trash before it reached the gyre, and we received the following from Patrick Arndt, who sails his Islander 30-2 Sinaloa out of Berkeley, "My close friend gets his exercise kayaking on the Bay. So he goes prepared to get the easy stuff down in Fremont."

Patrick and Brian are among many sailors who pick up trash before it reaches the ocean.

© 2018 Patrick Arndt

"Almost ‘everything’ that falls off a boat in the main part of the Bay ends up in Hayward to Fremont," explained Patrck. "I’ve helped him off and on for a few years until he gets aggressive and starts pulling in truck tires and tree trunks (a bit much for my back and age). Friend Brian got me back into sailing on his Catalina 27 Louisa until he sold her — now I reciprocate with my old ‘plastic classic’. You should see him load up a mountain bike."

If you’re also on the job collecting flotsam and jetsam let us know here.

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