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328 foot-long floating barrier will collect ocean trash

The Ocean Cleanup is testing a prototype that could lead to a barrier 62 miles long.
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There are numerous efforts underway to clean the world's oceans, but The Ocean Cleanup is testing what may be both the simplest and the most ambitious. It just launched a 328 foot-long prototype floating barrier that will collect trash floating in the North Sea. If it can survive the rough conditions of those waters, the plan is to deploy a 62 mile-long (!) barrier in the Pacific Ocean and reduce the size of the notorious Great Pacific Garbage Patch -- the hope is to halve the size of the trash field in 10 years.

Whether or not it's an ideal solution is up for debate. The 6.6 foot-deep design shouldn't interfere with wildlife (unlike existing nets) and is intended to last through vicious storms. However, the University of Hawaii's Jeffrey Drazen warns Scientific American that a massive barrier like this could mess with the distribution of animals in the region. Also, the surface pollution is just one part of a larger problem. We'll only truly get rid of ocean debris when we avoid putting it there in the first place. Biodegradable materials and better recycling may ultimately be the key.

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