UN Environment Champion of the Earth Boyan Slat and his Ocean Cleanup team launched the long-awaited, revolutionary marine litter cleanup system – expected to tackle 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic marine debris – at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco today.

System 001, as the first deployable model of the connected floating trash receptacles is dubbed, made its way out of the San Francisco Harbor towards the Great Pacific Garbage Patch under the watchful eye of hundreds of supporters, press, scientist and policymakers, where it will start to tackle one of the largest accumulations of marine litter on earth.

After four years of research and adjustments to the groundbreaking system, the design currently entails a 600-meter-long floater that sits at the surface of the water and a tapered 3-meter-deep skirt attached below.

Together, the U-shaped floater and skirt are carried by the oceans’ natural movements (currents and waves), passively catching plastic debris along the way.