these students are trying to rid the rivers of plastic

these students are trying to rid the rivers of plastic

An ecological mission that responds to a very complex problem: that of water pollution, especially in rivers.

The marine world has been affected for several decades by a major problem: pollution. If maritime traffic, ever more numerous, and a real handicap for marine life, waste, in particular plastic, is also one of the reasons for this pollution, which is taking alarming proportions.

Last year, it was the Drina River that got a lot of media attention. This waterway that crosses the Balkans was indeed polluted and covered with a thick layer of plastic over hundreds of meters, especially on Bosnian territory. Far from being a world exception, this river was above all the symbol of water pollution, which affects everyone, everywhere.

Today, health agencies estimate that microplastics in particular pollute the oceans in gigantic proportions. We are talking here about several thousand tons for waste that sometimes measures less than a millimeter. In order to combat this problem, and pollution in general, with larger plastic waste, Malaysian students have recently developed a very simple system, which allows the waste to be recovered from waterways.

A system at only 20,000 euros

The latter looks like a “seesaw” whose main objective is to capture the waste floating on the surface. According to the students behind this proposal, the River Cleaning Machine, as they named it, would be able to collect 90% of the plastic waste that is in its path.

Running on solar energy, and inexpensive (20,000 euros), the prototype turns on itself to collect waste and pile it up in the cage. Once the latter is full, an alert sounds. The cage is then emptied, and put back in place, before resuming its work. In a country like Malaysia, very affected by the pollution of its waterways with plastic, several solutions are now in place.

Since 2019 a large barge has been siloing the main rivers to recover the waste found there. A solution that pays off, but has only one limit. The houseboat, due to its size, cannot go into small waterways. That’s when the Clean River Machine comes into play.

The latter can follow the current and recover waste in rivers with very little bottom, where boats cannot go. A complementary use which could be used in Malaysia according to the students, but also in other countries, also affected by this pollution of the rivers.

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