Innovative River Cleaner Stops Plastic Reaching Oceans

To stop plastic waste reaching the ocean, an Italian firm has invented what seems to be the perfect tool for scooping up litter before it gets there.


Aerial view of River Cleaning's floating devices

Roughly 80 percent of ocean waste comes from rivers. Almost all of that comes from just 100 of the world's largest waterways. And just 10 rivers are responsible for around 90 percent of all that plastic in the so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch. So, stopping waste at its source is an excellent potential solution.


The company had to get over a few hurdles before they could properly test out their invention. For example, their device had to allow for boats to easily pass through, while being able to run 24/7 with no impact on the riverine environment. The result is River Cleaning, a 100 percent scalable, low cost, low impact solution.


Anchored to the bed at the bottom of the river, River Cleaning is a series of buoys that spin on axels powered by the natural flow of the river. Floating in a diagonal line, their gentle spinning motion funnels incoming trash towards a collection point at the shore.


Underwater view of River Cleaning's invention

Cleverly, passing boats need only go straight through them at a low speed, after which their anchor lines will pull them back into place.


They can be fitted to collect different kinds of waste, such as tiny particles, larger items like plastic bottles, and even oil, and efficacy studies have shown River Cleaning can collect 85 percent of all waste passing by them. So, if deployed in all the right places, that's up to 85 percent of trash prevented from reaching the ocean.

Photo credits: River Cleaning

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