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Cleanup crew heading to Great Pacific Garbage Patch

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An ambitious effort to corral and remove plastic from the ocean cleared an open-ocean trial and is now headed to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

The trial was completed this week.

The Ocean Cleanup, a nonprofit that assembled its floating plastic-capture system at the former Alameda Naval Air Station, successfully completed two weeks of testing about 350 nautical miles off the coast. On Tuesday, the team was given the go-ahead to head another 1,000 miles to a location halfway between Hawaii and California.

That’s where the world’s largest accumulation of discarded junk lurks — fishing nets, plastic bottles, pieces of plastic containers and bottle caps — drifting across an area estimated to be twice the size of Texas.

When the cleanup crew arrives in about two weeks, the goal is to collect and remove larger pieces of plastic before they are broken down into microplastics.

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