Inventor tries to conquer the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch"

ALAMEDA, Calif. — A ship on Saturday will start towing a long device from Northern California more than 1,000 miles out to sea to begin scooping up a massive heap of trash that's estimated to weigh 88,000 tons. It may look like a giant pipeline, but the 2,000-foot-long contraption will soon be cleaning up what's known as the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch," made up of an estimated 1.8 trillion pieces of floating plastic.

"This area is twice the size of Texas. If you were to skim that with boats and nets, it would take around 79,000 years," said Boyan Slat.

The 24-year-old Dutch inventor said his technology can do it much faster. He came up with the idea when he was just 16.

"I was scuba diving in Greece. I saw more plastic bags than fish and I thought why can't we just clean this up," Slat said.

He took CBS News out on the water to show how his ocean cleanup system was inspired by trash-covered beaches.

Full story: CBS News


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