A BOTCHED multi-million pound effort to clean up ocean pollution has been halted after sweeping up no plastic waste.
A 60ft part of the £31million floating device broke away from the Pacific Ocean cleanup, which was sent to corral a swirling island of rubbish between California and Hawaii.
The crucial component of the 2,000ft barrier in the ocean came apart two months into the project.
And that came after the device had already failed to hold the plastic debris it caught — accidentally spilling trash back into the sea.
The ambitious project had hoped to collect half of the Pacific rubbish patch, which covers an area three times the size of France, in five years.
Now the failed structure will have to be towed back to the United States.
Boyan Slat, 24, the Dutch entrepreneur behind the Ocean Cleanup group, admitted the project had failed.
He told NBC.com: “Of course there is slight disappointment, because we hoped to stay out there a bit longer to do more experiments and to….solve the [plastic] retention issue.
“But there is no talk whatsoever about discouragement.
“This is an entirely new category of machine that is out there in extremely challenging conditions."
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A ship towed the 2,000-foot-long barrier in September from San Francisco to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch an island of trash twice the size of Texas. It has been in place since the end of October.
The plastic barrier with a tapered 10-foot-deep screen was intended to act like a coastline.
It was hoped it would have trapped some of the 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic that scientists estimate are swirling in the patch while allowing marine life to safely swim beneath it.
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