The innovative floating trap for marine debris on the longest river in Italy has collected 540 kg of garbage. 80% of the waste comes from the continent.
540 kg of waste, of which 92 is only plastic. This is the “loot” captured in just four months, in the Po river, by the experimental project of the Foundation for Sustainable Development, Corepla and Castalia.
The initiative, dubbed “Il Po d’Amare”, began last year with an ambitious goal: to test an innovative marine debris capture system on the longest river in Italy to intercept these debris before it reaches the sea.
In the Mediterranean, in fact, tons of garbage, mostly plastic, end up every day and rivers (along with urban waste) are the main route used by these pollutants.
To strengthen the prevention front, the Foundation and the two consortia have installed a system of floating barriers (Seasweeper) 40 km from the mouth, capable of retaining waste without interfering with flora and fauna.
The project, carried out in collaboration with the Hydrographic Confederation of the Po, has produced the expected results, as explained by Edo Ronchi, president of the Foundation for Sustainable Development:
It has succeeded in showing that it is possible to intercept waste before it reaches the sea and becomes a serious environmental problem. Once at sea, waste in contact with salt water is difficult to recycle and, at the same time, plastics become dangerous microplastics.
From July to November 2018, the river barriers designed by Castalia, combined with the use of reduced draft boats (“Sea Hunter”), have allowed the recovery of eight large bags of waste.
The largest fraction is plastic, mainly polyethylene. The rest are vegetable waste and some glass containers.
The collected material was sent for recycling after sorting and separation of the different fractions, and the polymer granules obtained from plastic waste were finally sent to an English company for the construction of a hut.
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