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PortsToronto Network Remove 43kg and Nearly 63,000 Small Pieces of Plastic Pollution from Toronto Harbour in 2023

Toronto (February 26, 2024) – PortsToronto and the University of Toronto Trash Team are
proud today to release the official results of the 2023 Trash Trapping Program’s research
season. From May through October 2023, PortsToronto’s network of trash traps, which includes
eight Seabins and two WasteSharks, removed 43kg of litter, including 62,996 pieces of small
plastic pollution from the Toronto Harbour. This includes items such as plastic pellets, pieces of
foam from food containers, plastic bottle caps, cigarette butts and fatbergs (*see description
below).

2023 Results and Findings
Tiny debris, including microplastics (items smaller than five-millimetres) remain by far the most
common items by count collected by Seabins. Plastic items in the environment eventually break down into microplastics (often irregularly shaped small fragments), which can make it difficult to determine their origins. This year, using the same methodology, the research team has begun to see signs of a decrease in the amount of microplastics collected in PortsToronto Seabins, which could suggest the benefits of additional outreach and education efforts toward waste reduction.
WasteSharks, which are equipped with a large catch basin, captured mostly large plastic
fragments – including large pieces of foam from construction and food containers, hard plastic
fragments, as well as plastic water bottles, caps, cups, lids and straws. Data also revealed that
fatbergs were within the top ten most commonly found items in both the Seabins and the
WasteSharks. *These rock-like masses are formed by the combination of fat, grease and
wastewater materials, including wet wipes and diapers, that are released with wastewater
redirected to the lake during heavy rainfall.
In August 2023, PortsToronto launched a pilot program with two RanMarine Technology-supplied WasteShark aquadrones. This pilot program represented a Canadian first for these innovative trash traps, which are remotely operated and skim the surface of the water to collect floating debris. Over the course of only three expeditions in October 2023, the Toronto WasteSharks “Ebb and Flow” collected 19.2 kilograms of floating trash, including nearly 600 pieces of microplastics. With a larger capacity and remote controlled agility, the Toronto WasteSharks are able to collect a higher volume of debris in a shorter period, collecting nearly the same amount as all the Seabins combined over the entire field season. These can also be piloted into problem areas such as the corners of slips where we know that debris and other material can accumulate.

Background of Program
Since 2019, PortsToronto and the University of Toronto Trash Team have collaborated on the
Trash Trapping Program, which employs trash trapping technology and solutions-based
research to tackle floating debris in the Toronto Harbour. Through this program, researchers
measure and analyse the debris and plastic pollution collected by trash traps in order to track
trends in floating debris, determine the source of the material and use data to identify upstream solutions. This data and key findings and shared in order to raise awareness and encourage behavioural and policy change that could help reduce and prevent floating debris in Toronto’s Harbour. To view detailed data, results and mitigation strategies identified during the 2023 research season, please consult the U of T Trash Team’s website.
The PortsToronto Trash Trapping Program is part of the Toronto Inner Harbour Floatables
Strategy (Floatables Strategy), which is a collaborative strategy with a mission to reduce plastic
pollution and other floating litter in the harbour. The Floatables Strategy incorporates additional methods of and locations for capturing floating debris, including storm drains. Further detail and waste characterization results can be found here.
Follow along with us on social media @PortsToronto and @Toronto_Sharks, and view a video
summary of our 2023 Trash Trapping Program season, here.

Quotes
“Floating debris and plastic pollution in the water is not a problem unique to Toronto. We know that this is an issue prevalent in urban waterways around the world. What is unique about Toronto is that we have a coalition of like-minded organizations that have come together to find innovative solutions that leverage new technology and local research and trades to help make a difference,” says RJ Steenstra, President and CEO of PortsToronto. “Thank you to all partners who have contributed to the Trash Trapping Program’s progress thus far. We look forward to continuing this important work for years to come.”
“Our collaboration with PortsToronto is invaluable,” said Dr. Chelsea Rochman, Head of
Operations at the U of T Trash Team. “Together, we make a huge impact in our community. We
clean the inner harbour. We collect data to inform upstream solutions. We increase waste
literacy among the public. And, we provide summer jobs to many students that provide training in science and application.”

Fast Facts
 Researchers estimate that 10,000 metric tonnes of waste enter the Great Lakes each
year, much of it plastic.
 A common occurrence in urban waterways, floating debris comes from a variety of
sources – including overflowing or windblown trash bins at the water’s edge, storm water
runoff and industry.
 Anthropogenic (originating from human activity) debris, and microplastics in particular
can harm wildlife and contaminate drinking water, and negatively impact public
enjoyment of cherished shared water resources.

 Since the Trash Trapping Program’s launch in summer 2019, Seabins in the
PortsToronto network have removed hundreds of thousands of pieces of plastic debris
from the Toronto Harbour, moving the needle toward cleaner water in Lake Ontario.
 PortsToronto Seabins are deployed at four locations on the Toronto waterfront and at
the Outer Harbour Marina (4).
 In 2023, PortsToronto launched a pilot program with two WasteShark aquadrones,
known as the Toronto WasteSharks, Ebb and Flow.
 The WasteShark aquadrone is designed to skim the surface of the water to collect
floating debris and waste from the aquatic environment.

About PortsToronto
For more than 100 years PortsToronto has worked with its partners at the federal, provincial and municipal levels to enhance the economic growth of the City of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. PortsToronto owns and operates Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, which welcomed approximately 2.8 million passengers in 2019; the Outer Harbour Marina, one of Canada’s largest freshwater marinas; and, Marine Terminal 52, which provides transportation, distribution, storage and container services to businesses at the Port of Toronto. PortsToronto is committed to fostering strong, healthy and sustainable communities and has invested more than $14 million since 2009 in charitable initiatives and environmental programs that benefit communities along Toronto’s waterfront and beyond. PortsToronto operates in accordance with the Canada Marine Act and is guided by a nine-member board with representation from all three levels of government.


About The University of Toronto Trash Team
The U of T Trash Team, co-founded in 2017, is a science-based community outreach
organization made up of undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs, researchers, local
volunteers and staff all working together with a common goal to increase waste literacy in our
community while reducing plastic pollution in our ecosystems. Their local projects
use research to inform policy and management, and education and community outreach to
increase waste literacy, engage the public and implement effective solutions. Their ultimate goal is to inspire an assortment of solutions resulting in the global reduction of waste and healthier habitats for wildlife and people.


About the PortsToronto Trash Trapping Program

The PortsToronto Trash Trapping Program employs trash trapping technology and solutions-
based research to tackle plastic pollution and protect Toronto’s waters for future generations.

Since 2019, the Trash Trapping Program has removed hundreds of thousands of small pieces
of plastic pollution from the Toronto Harbour. It is led by PortsToronto and the U of T Trash
Team, in partnership with Swim Drink Fish, the Waterfront Business Improvement Area (WBIA)
and the City of Toronto BIA Office Innovation Grant, Nieuport Aviation, the Toronto Zoo,
Harbourfront Centre, and Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA). It is part of the
Toronto Inner Harbour Floatables Strategy, a partnership led by TRCA, and of the International
Trash Trapping Network, an initiative led by the U of T Trash Team and Ocean Conservancy,
and has influenced the launch of similar trash trapping and data collection programs throughout the Great Lakes and beyond.

About the Toronto Inner Harbour Floatables Strategy
The Toronto Inner Harbour Floatables Strategy (Floatables Strategy) is a collaborative strategy
with a mission to reduce plastic pollution and other floating litter in the harbour. It is a
collaboration between the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority the Toronto Remedial
Action Plan, University of Toronto Trash Team, PortsToronto, City of Toronto, Swim Drink
Fish, Waterfront Business Improvement Area, and Harbourfront Centre. Partners in Project
Green oversees the Floatables Strategy on behalf of the Toronto and Region Conservation
Authority.

Media Contact
Jessica Pellerin
Manager, Media Relations and Public Affairs, PortsToronto jpellerin@portstoronto.com

RanMarine Technology unveils a pioneering initiative for a cleaner aquatic environment with Ports Toronto

Toronto, Ontario 9 August 2023

RanMarine, backed by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has introduced WasteSharks to Canadian waters. Leveraging the Netherlands Enterprise Agency’s DHI program, aimed at bolstering Dutch businesses abroad, PortsToronto and Port of Halifax are beneficiaries of the latest aqua-drones. This initiative aligns with UN Sustainable Development Goals, promoting innovation, feasibility studies, and investment readiness.

Now in the summer of 2023, PortsToronto can proudly introduce their WasteShark aqua-drones named “Ebb and Flow”, as part of their visionary project set to revolutionise water cleanliness in Toronto Harbour. In tandem with PortsToronto’s Seabins, these autonomous Wastesharks will adeptly capture floating debris and plastic pollution, championing sustainability. Employing a Roomba-like approach, they effortlessly skim the water surface, channeling waste through a specialized catch basin and net. With a robust 180-liter capacity, each Wasteshark can eliminate up to 1100 lbs of waste daily. Based at the Outer Harbour Marina, these aquatic wonders will traverse target zones across the Toronto Harbour and waterfront, collecting data while supporting PortsToronto’s partnership with the University of Toronto (UofT) Trash Team.

About PortsToronto Trash Trapping Program

The PortsToronto Trash Trapping Program employs trash-trapping technology and solutions-based research to tackle plastic pollution and protect Toronto’s waters for future generations. Since 2019, the program has removed hundreds of thousands of small pieces of plastic pollution from the Toronto Harbour, moving the needle toward cleaner water in Lake Ontario.

The program is led by PortsToronto and the U of T Trash Team, in partnership with the Waterfront Business Improvement Area (WBIA) and the City of Toronto BIA Office Innovation Grant, Nieuport Aviation, the Toronto Zoo, Harbourfront Centre and Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA). It is part of the Toronto Inner Harbour Floatables Strategy, a collaborative strategy with a mission to reduce plastic pollution and other floating litter in the harbour, and of the International Trash Trapping Network, an initiative led by the U of T Trash Team and Ocean Conservancy, and has influenced the launch of similar trash trapping and data collection programs throughout the Great Lakes and beyond.

Defeating blue-green algae: Meet the advanced MegaShark

SUSTAINABILITY – RanMarine’s aqua drones help clean the water by combating plastics and (blue-green) algae, which plague Dutch waters every summer.

Nothing beats a dip in natural swimming water during a hot summer day, right? But every year, the same question arises again: Is the water safe for swimming, or will these awful blue-green algae prevent us from entering the water? With the WasteShark and MegaShark, RanMarine not only removes plastic waste and unwanted algae. “We are now working hard on developing an advanced MegaShark that can target the harmful and annoying blue-green algae as well,” says Richard Hardiman, CEO of the Rotterdam-based company.

In the ongoing battle against water pollution, RanMarine is making waves with its innovative water drone technology. The company is tackling the global issue of water pollution with the WasteShark and the Mega Shark: high-tech devices that glide through the water, collecting pollutants. “You can compare it to an autonomous vacuum cleaner, but instead of vacuuming your lounge, they vacuum the top thirty centimeters of waterways”, explains Hardiman. The drones are equipped with sensors and cameras and can navigate complex waterways.

The MegaShark
Natural waters face a big problem nowadays: algal blooms. The consequences of excessive algae range from unattractive appearance and unpleasant odors – bad for tourism and overall well-being – to severe disruptions in aquatic ecosystems by depleting oxygen levels and blocking sunlight, damaging plants, and harming the fish. “The blooms are fueled by excessive nutrient runoff of farmer lands and profit from climate change. As temperatures rise and the population grows, we must feed more people. That means more farming and more fertilizers. I foresee that algae will become a huge problem in the future”, Hardiman explains.

Read more here> LINK

From aquatic drones to AI beach buggies and enzymes that ‘eat’ polyester

The solutions being developed to clean up the 199 MILLION tonnes of plastic littering our oceans

  • Scientists and engineers are working to find solutions to the global problem of ocean plastic
  • Technologies like seabins, plastic interceptors and aquatic drones are currently being utilised
  • Plastic-eating enzymes, microbe nets and magnetic liquids are being scaled up, but show promise
  • MailOnline looks at how else we are working to remove rubbish from our oceans and rivers

Plastic waste is being discovered in increasingly remote locations around the world, from fresh Antarctic snow to the mountain air above the Pyrenees.

According to the World Economic Forum, between 75 and 199 million tons of plastic are currently in our oceans.

This ranges from large floating debris to microplastics, which form as the bigger pieces of waste break down.

As a result, scientists and engineers are working hard to find new solutions to the global problem of plastic pollution.

These include aquatic drones that can be programmed to scoop up floating debris from the surface of rivers, and buggies that use artificial intelligence (AI) to search for and pick up litter for use on beaches.

Scientists are also hoping to scale up the use of magnetic nano-scale springs that hook on to microplastics and break them down.

MailOnline takes a closer a look at some of the technologies currently being used to reduce the man-made debris in our oceans, and those that are still in development.

MailOnline takes a closer look at ten new technologies that are helping to remove man-made garbage from Earth's oceans, including plastic-eating enzymes and marine drones

MailOnline takes a closer look at ten new technologies that are helping to remove man-made garbage from Earth’s oceans, including plastic-eating enzymes and marine drones

According to the World Economic Forum, between 75 and 199 million tons of plastic are currently floating in our oceans, with millions of tons more dumped every year

According to the World Economic Forum, between 75 and 199 million tons of plastic are currently floating in our oceans, with millions of tons more dumped every year

To read the article by Mail on Line see this link

Drone WasteShark removes plastic waste and biomass

Autonomous surface vessel (ASV) WasteShark by company RanMarine Technology vacuums and cleans plastic waste and biomass from water bodies using drone technology. Modeled after a shark, the water vehicle-looking vacuum is designed to be deployed with preset mission routes on the user’s chosen waterbody. By selecting WasteShark’s operating route and predetermining its path, its user covers the region they require waste or data collection. The routes can be saved and re-run as often as needed, depending on the user. The ASV drone also uses GPS routes to navigate to the desired areas and to return home. Light detection and ranging system can be added to the device to avoid collision and enhanced data gathering from the environment. The company – which specializes in the design and development of industrial ASVs for ports, harbors, and other marine and water environments – says that the design of WasteShark allows it to be efficient, long-lived, non-threatening, and unobtrusive, with zero greenhouse and carbon emissions that alter climate change and in-house clean technology tools used for cleaning water. Because of these, the all-purpose waste and data collection ASV can be used in urban, rural, industrial, and leisure environments.
WasteShark has a 10-hour swim time, 5km range of run, and waypoint planning, and it can clear up to 500 kilos of debris per day, run for 3km/h and for six hours in autonomous mode. The company installed 4G technology into its ASV with a 3km radio-controlled guidance and two electric thrusters which it guarantees are mounted with RanMarine proprietary thruster guard technology. RanMarine Technology’s WasteShark is one of the many ASVs the company desires to create in the future to clear plastics, bio-waste, and other debris from waterways. It says that the data enablement of its products allows customers to closely monitor, in real-time, the environment and makeup of their water, producing an accurate picture of the water’s DNA to pinpoint any unquantified concerns. RanMarine Technology products are also designed to be used manually via an onshore operator or autonomously with online control and access such as WasteShark.
Read the full article by Design Boom on this link.

WasteShark: River Trash Traps Chew at Huge Ocean Plastics Problem

WasteShark, a drone cum trash trap may be the answer to solving the ocean plastic problems. Here’s everything you need to know about it.

How do river trash traps help eliminate ocean plastic?

WasteShark is a boxy, 5-foot 2-inch-long aquatic drone cleaning up plastic waste in a pond in Rotterdam, maybe a solution to clean plastic waste in the water. Known as the WasteShark, the device is an aqua drone that removes plastic and debris floating on water surfaces. According to RanMarine Technology, the drone is capable of holding 42 gallons of trash and other floating debris. It can also mop up plants and algae floating on water and operate for eight hours after a single charge.

“So we wanted it to be as easy to deploy as possible, as easy to capture the trash and bring it back to land, make it safer so that the operator is stood on the shore rather than was in the water, make it battery operated, so it was zero emissions, not diesel or fossil fuel-powered. And it was easy to store away,” said Richard Hardiman, the CEO, and founder of RanMarine.“A lot of the time our customers have bigger boats that need a captain and a lot of maintenance and a lot of mechanical movement to make them work. We wanted something very sleek, very simple, get the trash out and start recycling faster than what has been done right now,” he added.

More on the WasteShark

The concept inspired by the whale shark, the majestic creature that swims with its mouth open is revolutionary. “The WasteShark was based on the whale shark, which has a large mouth for capturing its prey. So that’s why we have two pontoons, one on each side. So that the waste can come in from the front. And it gets trapped in between the pontoons,” explained Tessa Despinic. Despinic is the design engineer of the miraculous product. According to the developers, they were successful in selling over 40 aquatic drones. With the price starting from $25,600, the basic model comes with a manually controlled option. Higher-end models are programmable.

This is one of the many techniques present for reducing the plastic waste problem . As trash is washed away, thrown, or blown into waterways, storm drains close up or carry them forward.“ Once plastic or trash ends up in the ocean, it’s very hard to collect because it does break down. And so it gets smaller and smaller and it’s just hard to get out to our big open oceans and collect the trash there. We’d much rather collect that trash closer to shore, which is easier, it’s less costly,” stated Nancy Wallace. Wallace is the director of the Marine Debris Program under the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

“The most important thing with marine debris or plastic or trash in our ocean is we don’t want it there in the first place. So while all of these devices are incredibly helpful, we need to work on the upstream solutions of generating less waste from the consumer standpoint, but also the industry standpoint. And so there’s a lot of different players that are going to help solve this problem overall,” added Wallace. Ocean life is declining due to rising temperatures, plastic debris, and human interference. This waste trapper is possible a way to help them.

Read article by Menafn on this link.

From Combat to Cleaning Waterways

The oceans cover over 70 percent of the surface of the planet and provide over 70 percent of the oxygen we breathe. In addition, they absorb around 50 times more Co2 than our atmosphere does.

While paramount to life on Earth, our oceans are currently being threatened by plastic pollution, climate change, and overfishing. These threats can greatly harm precious marine life and the humans that depend on them for their livelihoods.

Marine scientists have long warned of the implications that ocean pollution poses to our very existence. Solutions have been actively sought that could potentially help humans minimize the pollution damage to our oceans.

When the first aerial drone (aka Unmanned Aerial Vehicle or UAV) came onto the market in Britain in 1935, people were blown away by the potential these devices held for society. Initially developed for aerial target practice by the Royal Air Force, drones have now become commonplace all over the world.

In 2013 major companies around the world, including Amazon, Uber and UPS began testing delivery concepts using drones and by 2020 drones were assisting in the delivery of medications and conducting mass disinfection during the Coronavirus outbreak.

But drones are not only used for combat or delivering medication and assistance during pandemics. Let’s examine a few ways drones are helping the oceans.

Drone use in marine conservation

Drones are revolutionizing conservation science in terms of how marine animals are being monitored and observed, allowing researchers to get closer to these animals than ever before without hampering their natural habitats.

In terms of marine conservation, drones can create high-resolution base maps of marine areas, proving far more superior to the images being obtained from Google Maps and Satellite Images. Georeferenced orthomosaics, for example, help research teams measure distances and features with true accuracy.

Drones are also able to fly at very low altitudes of 50 meters or lower, allowing operators to obtain photographic images for transects and species analysis. This approach completely removes the interference of the species’ habitats making it a far more effective way of gathering data in terms of marine conservation. What this means is that researchers are now able to produce more meaningful data in a more cost-effective way.

Underwater drones are also helping researchers to monitor the health of marine ecosystems. Previously hard-to-reach places can now be accessed by drones, bringing back water and sediment samples that help scientists determine the type of species inhabiting certain areas. Furthermore, drones have proved invaluable in helping scientists and researchers to better understand the impact of aquaculture operations on marine environments.

Another incredibly effective way drones are being used is in disentangling whales from fishing lines and marine debris. Once entangled, whales face starvation due to not being able to feed or drowning if they are not able to reach the surface for air. Before the use of drones, marine conservationists would need to reach entangled whales at least 3 times. Initially to assess the entanglement situation, then again to disentangle the whale, and lastly to ensure they were disentangled properly.

These operations were obviously very dangerous for conservationists. But thanks to sophisticated drones, marine conservationists can safely assess the damage and ensure the whales are properly freed by viewing images captured at close range by the drones. With the help of the drones, they only need to make an approach once to actually free the whales from entanglement since the viewed images from the drones help them to make accurate assessments before and after.

Not only are drones able to help free whales from man’s pollution, but they are effectively used to study whale and dolphin populations. The amount of data that can be simultaneously collected is astonishing. From collecting whale snot for analysis to determining the size of marine mammals, researchers now have a much deeper understanding of the behaviour of these ocean mammals thanks to the drone’s ability to monitor them at closer range without interfering with their natural habitats.

Previously, hydrophones were used to capture and monitor whale vocalizations. But thanks to another type of drone called EarBot, this process has become relatively easy. The drone lands in the water near the whales, turns off its engines, and records the whale vocalizations while simultaneously transmitting data directly back to the boat.

Can Drones Clean Our Waterways?

It’s incredible that drones can offer support with so many ocean conservation issues. Therefore, it is no surprise that drones could also be the answer to ocean pollution.

RanMarine Technology’s WasteShark (aka an autonomous surface vehicle or ASV) is a 1.57 meter water drone that collects debris and biomass from the surface of waterways before this pollution reaches the sea.

Referred to as the “trash-eating ocean drone” by many, WasteShark was modeled after the whale shark, the world’s largest fish. It’s designed to be a long-term and efficient solution that is unobtrusive and non-threatening to living beings in the water. It’s a low-cost solution that is easily transportable, easy to operate, and results in zero greenhouse emissions.

Its charge can last up to 10 hours, and in this time, it collects waste but can also collect data using sensor probes. In addition, multiple WasteSharks can work together, covering more water and collecting other waste. Its use in rural, urban, leisure, and industrial environments is truly impressive.

Currently, waste poses enormous implications for the ecosystems in our oceans. But thanks to ocean pioneers like RanMarine Technology, we finally have a highly effective solution to marine pollution.

A Drone Army Is Rising Against Ocean Plastics

Solutions to remove garbage from the sea have boomed in past years, but a lot more is needed to end plastic pollution

 

The garbage-collecting BeachBot rover during a demonstration at a beach in the Netherlands.

The garbage-collecting BeachBot rover during a demonstration at a beach in the Netherlands. Source: TechTics/Project.BB

Floating drones inspired by whale sharks and four-wheeled robots that resemble the Mars rover are among the latest inventions designed to remove litter from the oceans.

The number of tools to monitor, prevent and clean up ocean pollution has grown almost exponentially over the past four years, according to a paper published in Nature Sustainability. The research, led by biologist Nikoleta Bellou at the Institute of Coastal Research Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon, is the most comprehensive analysis of sea-cleaning solutions to date.

“Unfortunately more focus at a policy level is being given to banning single-use plastics,” Bellou said. “But we already have polluted the oceans and we need to do something to retrieve that, simultaneously to all the actions needed to reduce pollution at the source.”

Chemicals, fossil fuels and plastics are present in all of the world’s oceans and have been found both at the surface and at the bottom of the seas. Marine litter threatens the survival of wildlife such as seabirds, whales, fishes and turtles because they can get tangled in it or confuse it with food. Tiny pieces of plastic known as microplastics can make their way up the food chain, eventually ending up in human bodies.

relates to A Drone Army Is Rising Against Ocean Plastics
MAPP bot has been designed to detect small pieces of garbage in beaches.  Source: TechTics/Project.BB

As many as 91 million metric tons of litter entered the oceans between 1990 and 2015, as much as 87% of which was plastic, according to the research. An estimated 5.25 trillion particles of litter are currently floating in the oceans.

While the impacts of polluting the seas were reasonably understood by the end of the 1980s, it wasn’t until 2016 that solutions to address the problem really took off. Of the 177 methods analyzed by Bellou and her colleagues, 73% were only developed in the past four years. Most approaches so far address monitoring, with only 30 aimed at clean up, the research found. Most focus on large litter floating on the surface, meaning microplastics at the bottom of the sea remain an unresolved issue.

Funding soared in 2014 after the European Union launched research programs such as the nearly 80 billion-euro ($97 billion) Horizon2020 initiative. About half of the ocean projects available today were government-funded, while a third were paid for through collaborations between nonprofit organizations, the public and companies, according to the paper.

The new research, which doesn’t reveal which specific projects Bellou and her team analyzed, points to a wide range of inventions—and the challenges of scaling them up.

relates to A Drone Army Is Rising Against Ocean PlasticsRanMarine’s WasteShark collects litter floating on the surface of rivers and canals.
Source: RanMarine

Solutions invented over the past few years include sea garbage bins, giant plastic-collecting barriers and a marine drone that collects floating garbage through a wide opening that mimics the mouths of whale sharks.

There’s also BeachBot, a garbage-collecting rover that picks up small litter like cigarette butts, single-use cutlery or plastic bottle caps from beaches. Creators Martijn Lukaart and Edwin Bos sought the help of students at University of Technology Delft in the Netherlands to develop an algorithm which teaches the robot to distinguish between types of trash.

“It’s nice to develop a robot solution, but that’s not the solution to the wider problem,” Bos said. “Behavior needs to change and our goal is to make people interact and engage with the robot to make it smarter, but also to learn about the impact of litter themselves.”

A BeachBot prototype has been deployed in several locations in the Netherlands and the two entrepreneurs say they’re ready to move toward launching the product. The next challenge is to find the right business model to ensure BeachBot doesn’t just clean, but also educates the public and changes behaviors.

Despite recent efforts, a lot more will be needed to make a dent in ocean plastic pollution, Bellou’s paper concluded. Plastic production and waste accumulates faster than the inventions to reduce it. By some calculations, it would take about a century to remove 5% of plastics currently in the oceans using only clean-up devices.

Article by Bloomberg Green

 

Drones for Trash Clean Up in Waterways Could Save the Oceans

A project using drones for trash clean up in Denmark could show the way to saving the oceans from an environmental disaster caused by the massive volume of plastic that pollutes them.  (Part two of a two-part series on the use of drone-captured images and machine-learning software in the cause of cleaning up the environment.)

Project combines use of flying, floating drones for trash ID and collection, to clean up Danish waterways

Denmark has launched a unique experimental project, combining both unmanned aerial vehicles and unmanned watercraft to combat oil slicks and floating trash in the nation’s waters.

The CityShark program, designed to coordinate the use of the two different types of drones, began in July 2019, with the use by the Danish coastal city of Aarhus of WasteShark, an unmanned waste-gobbling sailing vessel, manufactured by Rotterdam-based RanMarine Technology.
In the first phase of the project, the WasteShark, owned by the Port of Aarhus, autonomously roamed the waters at the mouth of the Aarhus River where the river flows into the harbor, and scooped up solid waste — plastic bottles, single-use cups, plastic bags and other floating debris. The WasteShark is able to collect 500 kilograms (about 1,100 pounds) of debris each day.
Read full article by DroneLife

WasteShark, the Swimming Drone, Devours Marine Trash

ROTTERDAM, The Netherlands, April 5, 2021 (ENS) – The Rotterdam-based startup RanMarine Technology has built a drone that swims rather than flies. The WasteShark traverses waterways to collect litter, biomass, plastics, microplastic and other debris using a basket underneath the autonomous device. In addition to removing litter, sensors in the drone enable data collection on water conditions: temperature, pH levels, depth, green algae, or oily hydrocarbons.

Modeled on the planet’s largest fish, the whale shark, the WasteShark is the world’s first waste-harvesting autonomous aqua-drone that collects marine waste, biomass, and plastic from all types of water. It can collect up to 500 kilograms of waste a day with a zero carbon footprint.

To date, RanMarine has introduced WasteSharks to help clean up harbors in the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, South Africa, India, Thailand, Denmark, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, and Australia.

The WasteShark uses radar to avoid collisions and GPS and autonomous software to follow pathways while collecting waste and data. The device can travel through waters for up to 10 hours without a recharge.

RanMarine Technology and The Planet Calls, an Irish NGO foundation focused on sustainability and a circular economy, have just announced their new strategic partnership. Combining RanMarine’s award-winning technology for cleaning the world’s waters and The Planets Calls’ mission for a greener and more sustainable planet, it’s a partnership with a vision – clean plastic pollution.

In some form, almost all the plastic ever created still exists today. The amount of plastic produced globally in a year is almost the same as the entire weight of humanity, the two organizations warn. They take seriously the prediction that by 2050, there will be more tonnes of plastic in our oceans than tonnes of fish.

This estimate comes from a report by British sailor and environmentalist Ellen MacArthur introduced at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January 2016. “In a business-as-usual scenario, the ocean is expected to contain one tonne of plastic for every three tonnes of fish by 2025, and by 2050, more plastics than fish (by weight),” the report read.

There is no doubt that the call to act is urgent.

RanMarine Technology CEO Richard Hardiman says, “As a cleantech company, we are regularly introduced to people and networks who are passionate about the earth, its waters, and the need for urgent restoration. I can honestly say that few embody the same passion and vision or align with our mission so clearly as The Planet Calls. To be partnered with CEO Leslie Maliepaard and her team, to us at RanMarine, is the embodiment of what we are looking to achieve in creating stronger networks and commitments in the fight against plastic pollution.”

In this fight against plastic pollution, RanMarine’s WasteShark drone offers an intelligent tool for cleaning water in parks, lakes, lagoons, marinas, rivers, canals, harbors and smart cities, where the eco-friendly, quiet drone can devour plastic pollution before it spills into the ocean.

Article by Environment News Service