Giant pipe ‘Wilson’ to clean the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Posted on 17 October 2018

There’s a giant pipe dubbed Wilson, which is floating in the ocean right now, on a mission to begin the clean up of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This Garbage Patch is the largest accumulation of ocean plastic in the world (of the five offshore plastic accumulation zones) and according to a scientific report when last sampled it was estimated that it comprises more than 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic that weigh an estimated 80,000 tonnes. An ingenious plan to remove these pollutants was hatched by the then 17-year-old Dutch teen, Boyan Slat.

Slat, currently 24, is the founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, a Dutch foundation that is developing advanced technologies to rid the oceans of plastic. In May last year, Boyan Slat announced a design breakthrough allowing for the cleanup of half the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in just 5 years.

Below is a short video that was released on Twitter along with the announcement, current Instagram post with updates on Wilson’s current progress in the ocean cleanup and detailed diagrams of how it all works.

The first cleanup system, known as Cleanup System #1 was launched in the San Francisco Bay Area in March 2018. After assembly, the 600m-long floating pipe system, with it’s three-metre deep catchment skirt was gradually lowered into the adjacent Seaplane Lagoon, where it floated while undergoing a series of test before being towed out to the Pacific Ocean where it now lies ready to be put into action.

How it works


View this post on Instagram


System 001, lesson 101: How it works.

A post shared by The Ocean Cleanup (@theoceancleanup) on


Also read: Visit San Francisco and shake up your world view

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