River trash traps chew at huge ocean plastics problem
Author: Janet Mc Connaughey
The science of plastic pollution is new and almost as much in flux as the waters it studies. For instance, a scientist who repod in 2017 that rivers might carry anywhere from 450,000 to 4.4 million tons (410,000 to 4 million metric tons) of plastic a year into the sea also was part of a 2021 study that narrowed the range considerably, with an upper limit of nearly 3 million tons (2.7 million metric tons). “Compared to other pollutants available data on plastics is still scarce,” Christian Schmidt, of the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Leipzig, Germany, wrote in an email. The devices use ancient and modern technology to run rakes and a conveyor belt that move floating trash into barge-mounted dumpsters. Usually, the current carrying bottles and cigarette butts also turns a water wheel for power. When the current slows, a solar-powered water pump spins the wheel.