The Ocean Cleanup’s aerial expedition maps ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’

The Ocean Cleanup’s aerial expedition maps ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’

The Ocean Cleanup's recently conducted first ever aerial reconnaissance mission over the swirling mass of plastic trash between Hawaii and California marked the launch of a burgeoning effort to clean up the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch."

The Dutch foundation behind the mission is using Mountain View's Moffett Field as its base of operations. A second flight is set to take place later this week.

Over the course of its maiden 2½-hour flight, the foundation's Hercules C-130 fitted with plastic scanning equipment detected more than 1,000 items of plastic debris along the northern boundary of the patch.

Boyan Slat, The founder of the Ocean Cleanup, said, "The Aerial Expedition … brings us another step closer to the cleanup of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The initial findings of the expeditions again underline the urgency to tackle the growing accumulation of plastic in the world's oceans."

The mission follows the Ocean Cleanup's Mega Expedition in 2015 that involved thirty vessels and measured plastic debris up to 1.5 inches in size. That mission also found larger plastic trash, including discarded fishing nets.

As per a statement by the foundation, the information collected by the missions will be used to develop cleanup technologies, such as booms that act as artificial coastlines and use ocean currents to scour and trap plastic debris from in the ocean.