By Emily Price
December 19, 2018

A device created to clean up plastic waste in the Pacific Ocean isn’t working according to plan.

The device, which is nicknamed Wilson, is 2,000 feet long with a 10-foot skirt hanging below it. Wilson was sent out to sea in September from San Francisco to help clean up half of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch over the next five years.

While the device reached the patch in October, it’s so far failed to actually retain plastic, CNN reports.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is one of several garbage patches in the ocean. Located between Hawaii and California, this particular patch is thought to contain 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic weighing 80,000 metric tons, double the size of Texas.

The cleaning system was expected to recover 50 tons of plastic each year.

Researchers are trying to understand what is causing Wilson not to collect plastic. Early thoughts include the device isn’t moving fast enough, possibly allowing the plastic to escape. The large device also creates waves that might be preventing plastic from entering the device.

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