Floating at the side of a river that winds through densely populated neighborhoods in Panama City, a 52-foot-long robotic “trash wheel” sucks up plastic from the water and pulls it up a conveyor belt to be recycled. (The design, which runs on hydropower and uses solar power as a backup, is a tweaked version on Mr. Trash Wheel, which first debuted in Baltimore in 2014.) A camera system will soon use artificial intelligence to identify the garbage—from plastic bottles to toys—to gather data that can help design new strategies to eliminate plastic waste before it reaches the environment.

It’s the newest in a series of eight pilot projects around the world testing different ways to remove plastic waste from rivers before it can reach the ocean. In another project, on the Citarum River in Indonesia, floating booms guide plastic to the riverbank. Installed earlier this year, the system has already captured more than 26,000 pounds of waste. In Jamaica, a floating barrier captures trash at Kingston Harbour. In Nairobi, Kenya, 10 trash booms in tributaries of the Athi River have captured more than a million pounds of plastic.

“The rivers in Nairobi didn’t look like rivers before our partners came along,” says Molly Morse, senior manager at the Benioff Ocean Science Laboratory, the organization coordinating the global pilots in a program called the Clean Currents Coalition. “They looked like dump sites. They were just completely covered in trash so you can’t see the water.” Chemolex, a Kenyan organization working on the Nairobi project, is using the plastic to make bricks to pave new walkways next to the river, where it’s helping create new parks and community gardens.

To read the full story, visit https://swavedigest.com/2022/09/26/trash-wheel-sucks-plastic-from-the-water-to-be-recycled/.
Author: Swave Digest
Image: Swave Digest