Cleanup in EarthShare New Jersey: An Innovative Solution for Waterway Restoration

Water pollution is a pressing global issue that threatens ecosystems and human health. As pollution levels continue to rise, innovative technologies are being developed to combat this problem. One such technology is the RanMarine WasteShark, an aquatic drone designed to cleanup and remove floating debris from waterways. 

How the WasteShark Operates
The WasteShark aquadrone, developed by RanMarine Technology, operates akin to a water-based Roomba vacuum cleaner. With a capture basket capacity of 42 gallons, this coffee table-sized robotic drone demonstrates its remarkable capabilities by efficiently collecting and removing up to 1100 pounds of waste on a daily basis from diverse aquatic environments such as harbors, marinas, estuaries, and lakes. It excels in accessing small, hard-to-reach areas, ensuring that debris is effectively tackled in critical chokeholds. Whether operated manually through remote control or autonomously following a pre-programmed route using an online dashboard, the WasteShark’s adaptability guarantees highly effective and efficient cleaning operations.

Types of Debris Removed
The WasteShark is designed to combat various types of debris polluting our waterways. It targets floating debris or trash and even small plastic pollution, which poses a significant threat to marine life and water quality. Additionally, the WasteShark can remove unwanted biomass vegetation from the water surface. Harmful algal blooms release toxins that contaminate drinking water, causing illnesses for animals and humans.

Global Impact
The global impact of water pollution around the world can be greatly addressed by solutions like the WasteShark. Researchers estimate that 10,000 metric tonnes of waste enter the Great Lakes alone each year, with a significant portion being plastic. By efficiently removing this waste, WasteShark helps mitigate the harmful effects of anthropogenic debris on wildlife, drinking water, and public enjoyment of water resources. Its contribution to cleaner waterways positively impacts ecosystems and human well-being on a global scale.

Organizations Utilizing the WasteShark
One notable organization utilizing the WasteShark is PortsToronto. In partnership with RanMarine Technology, PortsToronto has launched a pilot program that introduced two WasteShark aquadrones, named Ebb and Flow, to the Toronto Harbour. As part of PortsToronto’s Trash Trapping Program, Ebb and Flow join the network of Seabins deployed to capture floating debris and small plastic pollution. This program is supported by a grant initiative from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, aligning with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

PortsToronto’s Trash Trapping Program, in collaboration with the University of Toronto Trash Team and the International Trash Trap Network, recognizes the invaluable contribution of the WasteShark aquadrones in collecting vital data on the type, amount, and sources of debris in the Toronto Harbour and Lake Ontario. By utilizing the WasteSharks, PortsToronto can significantly enhance its trash-trapping capabilities and expand research efforts to gain a deeper understanding of plastic pollution and its effective mitigation strategies.

The RanMarine WasteShark represents an innovative solution for combating water pollution and the accumulation of debris in aquatic environments. Its ability to collect floating debris, small plastic pollution, and biomass has a significant global impact by improving water quality, preserving ecosystems, and safeguarding public health. Through the efforts of organizations such as PortsToronto, WasteShark contributes to data collection, research, and collaboration necessary to address water pollution on a larger scale. As the demand for sustainable and efficient cleaning technologies continues to grow, WasteShark offers hope in creating cleaner waterways worldwide.

Original article: https://www.earthsharenj.org/the-ranmarine-wasteshark-an-innovative-solution-for-waterway-cleanup/

WasteShark – The Plastic Gobbling Water Robot to Debut at CES 2022

Article by Anna Flockett / Startups Magazine

Plastic Marine litter is one of the biggest threats to ocean life and humans. Now that there is more plastic in the water than fish, new solutions are desperately needed to radically reduce the harmful effects of microplastics. That’s why the Dutch startup RanMarine Technology is showing the WasteShark USV (Unmanned Surface Vessel) at CES 2022, a floating drone designed to remove harmful plastic waste from waters and return it to shore before it can do damage.

Every year, 8 million tons of toxic plastic leak into our oceans. The UN Environmental Program predicts that this number will triple to about 35 million tons per year by 2040. RanMarine Technology, a startup of CleanTech Robotics, has come up with a solution to eradicate this pollution. The company invented multiple floating drones to clear waterways, canals, rivers and ports of plastic before it leaks into the ocean. In addition, the company is introducing a new docking station, with which the drones can independently remove plastic for 24 hours a day.


The WasteShark is designed to intelligently harvest plastic and biomass waste from urban waterways in smart cities, ports and ports. In addition to waste harvesting the drone also collects critical water quality data. The drone can be controlled directly by an operator or used in Autonomous mode. In this latter scenario, users can set the route and mission remotely via an online dashboard.


With 180 liters (47.5 gallons) of capacity and an 8-hour runtime, this hardworking robot can remove 500kg (1100lb) of waste a day. The WasteShark is also easy to use and deploy. Using 4G onboard communications and an easy setup process, launching multiple drones has been made deliberately simple and easy for customers. Additionally, the drone uses advanced battery technology ensuring emission-free operation on the water, and not adding to the water’s pollution. This makes the WasteShark one of the solutions leading the way in the fight against plastic.


RanMarine will also introduce the SharkPod, the world’s first autonomous floating docking station for waste-clearing drones, at CES 2022. With the ability to deploy, dock and charge up to 5 WasteShark drones at any time, this latest tool in pollution-fighting technology will enable ports, harbors and cities to operate a 24-hour autonomous solution to remove floating waste from the water.

With the ability to remove 1 ton of waste per drone per day, RanMarine expects the SharkPod to be capable to remove up to 100 tons or more of debris and waste per month. With the prototype unit that will be deployed in 2022, among other places in the Port of Rotterdam, drones will be able to dock, discharge waste, recharge and redeploy on a continuous 24-hour basis: all from a centrally controlled online environment.


The brainchild of RanMarine founder and CEO Richard Hardiman: “We have an epic battle on our hands. Current technologies are simply not working, we need a modern approach to a modern problem, and for me robots and autonomous drones were an easy and simple answer. Of course it’s critical to create policies and strategies to stop plastic waste from entering our waterways as a primary strategy. Our WasteSharks offer a pragmatic solution for cleaning up the existing mess that is perpetuated on a daily basis, and effectively prevent waste from reaching the open ocean.”

“With the release of the SharkPod, we aim to see full time deployment of WasteSharks with zero emissions and greater and quicker capture of toxic plastics in our waterways”, says Hardiman. “With an ever-increasing plastic pollution challenge at hand, we need to reduce costs, increase capture rates and make these solutions ever more affordable and easier to deploy for every city and port globally.”


What Were the Accomplishments of this Year’s COP26?

The  2021 United  Nations  Climate Change Conference that took place in Glasgow came to a close in mid-November. The UN has been bringing all countries together for almost three  decades  to take part in these global climate summits. This year’s summit was the 26th annual summit, so the 26 was added to its name. The purpose behind the summit is to discuss and reach agreements on the actions each country should take to tackle climate change.

Thousands  of  government  representatives, business  people, negotiators, and citizens attended the conference over the course of twelve days.  The  COP is not just another international climate summit;  the accomplishments of previous COP summits have proven this.  For instance, COP21 occurred in Paris in 2015. It was this summit that saw each country agreeing to work together for the first time ever.  They agreed to limit global warming to far below 2 degrees and aim for 1.5 degrees. It was then that the Paris  Agreement was born, whereby countries pledged to bring forward national plans showing how much they would lower their emissions.  The countries agreed to revisit this with an updated plan every five years. Since this COP was the 26th annual COP, world leaders were pressed to commit to stricter climate pledges.

What were some of the successes of COP26?

The COP26 summit achieved a lot of accomplishments, such as pledges on deforestation,  methane gas pollution, coal  financing,  the  U.S.-China deal, and  carbon trading.

The conference closed with governments requested to return in 2022 with even more substantial pledges around reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  In addition, they were also requested to provide further help through funding to those nations who are most impacted by the climate crisis. Let’s have a look at these in more detail below.

1.   Speeding up progress to achieving the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement by finalising the rulebook

A significant achievement of this year’s COP26 was world leaders agreeing by the end of 2022 to examine and reinforce the 2030  targets  in  their nationally determined contributions in addition to establishing a new annual high-level ministerial meeting from 2022 and leaders’ summit in 2023.

This is good news as it will pressure governments to continue to work to meet the  targets laid out in the Paris Agreement and achieve these goals ahead of the deadlines outlined in the agreement.  Much progress was also made on the rule book, particularly Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.  This section looks at carbon accounting and markets. The updated rulebook looks to unlock market and non-market approaches in relation to both climate change adaptation and mitigation. It will do this by closing loopholes, minimizing the risk of what is called ‘double counting,’ and offering operational certainty and transparency.

2.   Giving more significant support to developing countries

Another issue addressed at COP26 was finance, and governments in attendance agreed that there is a need for more support,  specifically to developing countries. They expressed that the most vulnerable countries can no longer be ignored and that more financial support for adaptation is crucial.

In  addition,  it needs to be predictable. It was also highlighted that developed countries are yet to live up to their Paris Agreement pledges of $100 billion each year to support developing    countries.   With that, governments made commitments to support developing countries financially to protect them from disasters and allow for adaptation.

3.  Putting a stop to deforestation

Another significant achievement from this year’s  COP26 was the commitment from countries to put a stop to deforestation.  Over 100 world leaders committed to not only bringing an end to deforestation but also reversing deforestation by 2030.

Brazil was among the signatories, which is not hugely surprising since large amounts of the Amazon rainforest have been cut down.  Deforestation is absolutely crucial when it comes to fighting climate change as trees can absorb significant amounts of carbon dioxide.

4.   Cutting methane emissions and looking to see the demise of coal

Over 100 countries pledged to cut 30 percent of methane emissions by 2030. Methane has significant impacts on the planet, so this action is considerably powerful. Even more important, half of the world’s top 30 methane emitters – Vietnam, Iraq, Nigeria, Mexico, Pakistan, Argentina, Indonesia, Canada, the EU, and the US – joined the pledge. Unfortunately, India, Russia, and China are yet to join.

Another positive outcome from the COP26 is that 23 nations committed to phasing out coal power. These include Nepal, Egypt, South Korea, Poland, Ukraine, Chile, Singapore, Vietnam, and Spain. This is part of a larger 190-country coalition that has pledged to phase out coal power and stop supporting new coal power facilities.

As we know, coal is still a huge contributor to climate change. Progress has been made in the past to reduce its use; however, in 2019, coal still produced around 37 percent of the world’s electricity.5.  Establishing plans to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees

The final and most significant outcome from the COP26 summit is the establishment of plans to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. Under the Paris Agreement, a total of 195 countries committed to maintaining an average global temperature change below 2 degrees and as close to 1.5 degrees as possible.

Before COP26, the planet was on course to achieve a dangerous 2.7 degrees. However, announcements during the summit from experts have confirmed we are on a path now to reach between 1.8 degrees and 2.4 degrees. Parties have now agreed to reconsider their promises by the end of 2022, putting us back on pace for 1.5 degrees.

It is clear the COP26 conference achieved a great deal. However, it is easy to commit and pledge. The hard part is following through with the promises. What it comes down to now is time – whether these world leaders, governments, countries, and nations put their words into action. If all do this and work to achieve the above, we are definitely in a solid position to fight against climate change.

Is Flooding the new Normal?

As if the pandemic wasn’t enough to deal with, floods and other extreme climate emergencies have caused the world to buckle under the strain. We are literally experiencing an ongoing global Polycrisis.

July and August 2021 were particularly bad months for the planet, which saw flooding in countries like Germany, Turkey, China, India and New Zealand. Lives were lost and homes were completely destroyed. In September 2021 flash floods in Nigeria saw cholera cases rising dramatically while flash floods in the Catalonia region of Spain caused power supply interruptions to about 10,000 residents.

From news sites around the world, we are hearing more and more about flooding. It now begs the question: is flooding the new normal?


Climate scientists were shocked at the devastation caused by the recent floods. While they have been warning us for years that human emissions would cause more extreme weather conditions, I don’t think anyone anticipated the extent of the damage we’ve seen.

Deadliest type of weather

Believe it or not, but floods are considered the deadliest type of extreme weather. While coastal and river floods can cause massive destruction, storm surges are an extremely dangerous form of flooding as it can cause large coastal areas to flood very quickly. Storm surge is literally the most dangerous aspect of any tropical system, posing the greatest threat to life and property.

Devastating Effects

Floods are devastating to everyone affected, causing not only death but economic and social problems too. From disruption to communication towers and power plants to road closures and collapsed bridges, floods can literally wipe out entire communities. It can take years for these communities to recover from the devastation that floods cause. Besides the obvious economic impacts, the psychological trauma suffered by people affected by floods often lasts a lifetime. Add to that the dangerous stew of toxic chemicals, sewage and waste that affects drinking water for months after a flood, heightening the risk of contamination, disease and environmental hazards.

Read our blog about dangerous pathogens found in rivers

Heavy Rainfall

While heavy rainfall, overflowing rivers, broken dams, storm surge and tsunamis all cause flooding, we have to take a closer look at what is causing weather patterns around the world to become so extreme.

According to scientists, climate change, which is accelerating at an alarming rate, is causing extreme weather patterns around the world. This has quite literally left us vulnerable.

If floods are the new normal, how are we, as a society, going to tackle this? To be honest, I think we are beyond policies now.

Warning Systems

What we need are improved early warning systems, better-coordinated response teams and much more aggressive steps in dealing with the climate crisis. In essence, we need a two-fold approach. We need to improve infrastructures to accommodate extreme weather, since physical infrastructures are not built for extreme weather conditions, and we need global unity in fighting climate change.

We don’t want to be alarmists, but if we look at the devastation caused by the recent floods, and the fact that this is something that appears to be the new normal, what really lies ahead for us down the road?

Short-term solutions like having insurance against flooding may seem like a good plan – for those who can afford it. But we also need to research our locations to assess flood risks. If we are located on flood plains we need to have proper evacuation plans in place and we need to be fully prepared by having well-stocked first aid kits, plenty of clean drinking water set aside, constant access to flood and emergency notifications and a way to quickly get to drier ground.

World Leaders

While world leaders are the ones that can implement policies that can force industries to adopt cleaner practices that can effectively slow down climate change, we as citizens really need to drive this process.


It is common knowledge by now that extractive industries are the main culprits of climate change. And they don’t seem to be slowing down either. Greenwashing abounds while populations buy into the deceptions. It seems pretty easy to slap a “sustainable” label onto products to both increase sales and literally dupe consumers into thinking they are buying “green” products. Educating ourselves and reading labels properly can mean the end of greenwashing. If we would only take that bold step.

Climate activist

Accepting extreme weather as the new normal while doing nothing to change the way we are currently living makes absolutely no sense at all.

“Some people say that I should study to become a climate scientist so that I can “solve the climate crisis”. But the climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the facts and solutions. All we have to do is to wake up and change.”

Greta Thunberg

Very profound words from the climate activist herself. And she is right. We already have all the facts, scientists have been telling us about climate change for years. Now it’s literally time to wake up and change.

Here are 3 things you can do, starting today:
  1. Join a campaign or movement that focuses on environmental issues and make your voice heard. That could mean getting more involved in community forums, getting environmental petitions signed and presenting them to politicians or working with your community to combat plastic pollution. (The Planet Calls is a global platform advocating for sustainability and a circular economy seeking volunteers, and they are doing everything they can to fight plastic pollution and climate change).
  2. Be conscious of the way you travel. Flying has a negative impact on the environment so rather take a bus or train. Oftentimes the 2 hours you spent checking in at the airport, going through security and the inevitable delays that go with flying means that taking a train or bus could essentially take the same amount of And even if it takes one or two more hours than flying, just think of your reduced carbon footprint. Instead of driving to work, you could take public transport instead. Or bike to work. Every bit counts towards reducing emissions. Should you find that flying is your only option, fly economy class and consider offsetting your carbon emissions.
  3. You can also reduce your energy use at home and at the office by switching off light and appliances when not in use and switching to LED light bulbs.

Admittedly, we probably aren’t going to make drastic emissions cuts to significantly slow down the rising temperatures, but collectively we can bring more attention to climate change through individual action. After all, every bit helps!

How seaweed is changing the world

As climate change continues to exacerbate ecological challenges and considerably decreases the areas of agricultural land available, the global demand for nutrients will increase drastically. More and more, we will look to the oceans for our very survival.

Take seaweed, for example. For centuries humans have consumed seaweed in one form or another. Seaweeds are fast-growing algae with many beneficial uses to both marine life and humans. Through the process of photosynthesis, seaweeds convert sunlight into energy and take up nutrients and carbon dioxide from the oceans. While rain forests only produce 28 percent of the oxygen we breathe, seaweed, kelp, phytoplankton, and algae plankton produce 70% of the oxygen we breathe.

Would you believe that seaweed is actually the ancestor of everything that grows on planet earth? Paleontologists recently announced the discovery of a billion-year-old seaweed fossil in northern China. Some scientists firmly believe that all the trees and plants we have today originated from seaweeds.

With resources on our planet steadily decreasing, it’s no surprise then that humans have turned to seaweed for ongoing food and medicinal help.

Seaweed can be found in many everyday products. From cosmetics to medicine, pet food, and even toothpaste. Recently they’re also used in biodegradable packaging, textiles, and even straws.

In 2019, the global seaweed business was estimated to be worth US$13.33 billion, with projections of that number reaching US$23.04 billion by 2027. Mostly farmed in Asia, inland seaweed farming outside of Asia has taken off in recent years.

Sustainable seaweed farming

The food industry’s interest in sustainable additives and food security grows each day, driven by a hungry population who are becoming increasingly concerned about the environment and the negative consequences of consumerism.

Seaweed farming began around 1670 in Japan and is now practiced all over the world.

While China, Indonesia, and the Philippines still produce most of the edible seaweed products on the market, seaweed farms are popping up all over the globe.

One such operation, AlgaPlus has a series of ponds and tanks in Northern Portugal where they cultivate seaweed in a much more controlled environment than that of traditional ocean seaweed farms. Their production includes the only European commercial-scale hatchery of the species Porphyra spp., also known as Atlantic nori.

Seawater from a coastal lagoon flows into the fish ponds at AlgaPlus, where it’s pumped through a filtration system into tanks that grow the seaweed. The advantage of this method of farming is additives or fertilizers are not needed, as the seaweed is nourished by the water from the fish in their ponds, making it a highly sustainable operation.

In another part of the world, seaweed farming is proving to be a very important resource for women. Tanzania is an East African country and home to the Serengeti National Park. It might surprise you to know that seaweed farming is considered the third biggest contributor of foreign currency to the country, where 90 percent of seaweed farmers are women. In their shallow-water farms, they wait 45 days for their seaweeds to grow, then pick, dry, and package their seaweeds to be exported to countries like China, Korea, and Vietnam. But due to climate change, farmer numbers have dwindled over the past few decades.

At one point there were over 450 seaweed farmers in Tanzania. Now there are only about 150. But thanks to a program run by The Nature Conservancy, farmers are now being educated about how to improve their farming operations in the hopes of increasing the number of farmers in the region.

Common seaweed strains for consumption

While mainly consumed in Asian countries, seaweed products are starting to enjoy popularity around the world. Global seaweed aquaculture production now occupies about 20 percent of the total world marine aquaculture production by weight. Seaweed aquaculture production is dominated by relatively few species namely the brown kelps and the red seaweeds.

Different seaweeds / kelp

Pyropia is a genus of red alga found around the world in intertidal zones and shallow water and commonly used to make “nori” – a dried edible seaweed used in Japanese cuisine and often used to wrap rolls of sushi or onigiri. It has the highest commercial value per unit mass at $523 per wet metric ton. (In case you are wondering why nori is green but made from red alga, when added to boiling water (100 degrees C) the other pigments in the seaweed melt and dissolve leaving behind the bright green chlorophyll).

Kelps are large brown algae seaweeds that grow in underwater forests in shallow oceans. Along the Norwegian coast, these forests cover 5800 km2, and they support large numbers of marine animals. Kelp fetches $141 per wet ton.

Gracilaria (red algae) are found in warm waters throughout the world, though they also occur seasonally in temperate waters and cannot tolerate temperatures below 10 degrees C. Gracilaria fetches $273 per wet ton.

Kappaphycus is a genus of red algae with species distributed in the waters of East Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Micronesia, and Hainan Island. Kappaphycus fetches $172 per wet ton.

Sargassum is a genus of large brown seaweed that floats in island-like masses, never attaching to the seafloor. They can be found in shallow waters and coral reefs.  Sargassum fetches $460 per wet ton.

Read our blog: Why we need to tackle our sargassum issue

How seaweed farming can help combat climate change

Considered a carbon-negative crop, seaweed also has a high potential for climate change mitigation. Furthermore, seaweeds can grow extremely quickly, about thirty times faster than land-based plants. Indeed, nothing on earth sequesters carbon faster than giant kelp which can grow up to 60 meters in length and as fast as 50 cm per day under the right conditions.

The University of the South Pacific published an analysis as early as 2012 that revealed exactly how seaweed farming could help to combat climate change. Their analysis revealed that if 9% of the ocean were to be covered in seaweed farms, the farmed seaweed could produce 12 gigatonnes per year of bio digested methane. This methane could be burned as a substitute for natural gas. Even at smaller scales, seaweed farming has the potential to substantially lower atmospheric CO₂.

Seaweed in the food chain

Seaweed isn’t just eaten in sushi bars. Many of the foods we consume every day employ thickening agents to make them more palatable and easier to scoop. Several strains of red algae provide natural gels that bind food such as Agars, Alginates, and Carrageenans. Some of the products include desserts, chewing gum, jellies, jams, dairy products, salad dressings, candies, ice creams, jellies, beers, and wines.

Seaweed for the garden

Seaweed can also be applied whole to garden soil. You can also buy seaweed that is dried and ground for fertilizer.  Or you can buy seaweed that is processed and made into seaweed extract, which is then diluted for use. Seaweed fertilizer adds trace elements as well as plant nutrients like potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus to the soil.

Furthermore, whole or dried seaweed also adds organic matter to the garden. Considering how toxic regular commercial fertilizers are for the delicate ocean ecosystems, seaweed fertilizers are a much safer option.

Seaweed for building houses

Probably the best use being given to seaweed in the Caribbean is in building houses. Sargassum bricks are made with the same technique as adobe bricks. The use of this seaweed can reduce the total cost of building homes by up to 50%, making it perfect for low-income families or sustainable buildings.

Other uses for seaweed

Uses for seaweed are virtually endless. They are used to make cardboard, paper, and even textiles. Seaweed is also used in pharmaceuticals as binders, stabilizers, emulsifiers, and for creating molds. Even the dental industry uses them in molding preparations. Hair strengthening treatments, as well as makeup, moisturizing creams and sunscreens are some of the products that are being produced with seaweed.

Read our blog: is your sunscreen harming the ocean?

Furthermore, methane emissions could be cut by 90 percent if livestock were fed on seaweed-based foodstuffs, rather than soy. It would also improve digestion whilst boosting the animals’ immune systems, thereby reducing the need for antibiotics.

Seaweed as a first choice

Not only does seaweed pose a solution to food scarcity and climate change, but it’s helping us to create biodegradable products. Next time you’re out shopping, reach for the products made from seaweed first. You’ll be doing the environment a ton of good