On September 8th, the Ocean Cleanup launched the first of many massive plastic-cleaning arrays into the Pacific Ocean. There’s a lot of plastic in the world’s oceans, with much of it congregating in places like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch . Dutch innovator Boyan Slat came up with the idea for these systems, which he hopes can scoop plastic out of water. But there are big questions, including whether the systems will survive the ocean’s forces, harm marine life, and collect plastic. This is the first time the systems are really being put to the test — if they work, they could be part of a solution to a massive problem. It was 11 p.m. on Boyan Slat’s birthday when he realized he had a problem. "We were having this barbecue [at the office]," he told Business Insider. Because of that, most of Slat’s team was still available when the call came in. There was an urgent structural problem with the giant plastic-cleaning device that the team had been working on. Slat, who turned 24 on July 27th, is the creator of the Ocean Cleanup , an organization attempting to remove plastic from some of the most trash-filled areas […]

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