Huge barrier isn't trapping plastic waste in Pacific Ocean

A floating device sent to corral a swirling island of trash between California and Hawaii hasn’t swept up any plastic waste — but the 24-year-old innovator behind the project said a fix was in the works.

Boyan Slat, who launched the Pacific Ocean cleanup project, said the speed of the solar-powered barrier isn't allowing it to hold on to the plastic it catches.

Slat said in an interview with The Associated Press "Sometimes the system actually moves slightly slower than the plastic, which of course you don't want because then you have a chance of losing the plastic again." He says a crew of engineers will reach the U-shaped boom today and will work for the next few weeks to widen its span so that it catches more wind and waves to help it go faster.

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.

Dawn Kamber