The Ocean Cleanup focuses on the floating fraction of plastics. Since most of it is located between the surface and a depth of five meters, the cleanup system will be designed to clean up only the plastic which is located in this upper layer of the water column. The Ocean Cleanup’s engineers are currently calculating the optimal length of the screen catching plastic under the surface.

For more information about the distribution of plastic in the water column, read our update about vertical distribution here (2016) and our research on the fallout of microplastic here (2020).