Floating fences in India. Whimsical water- and solar-driven conveyor belts with googly eyes in Baltimore. Rechargeable aquatic drones and a bubble barrier in The Netherlands.
These are some of the sophisticated and at times low-tech inventions being deployed to capture plastic trash in rivers and streams before it can pollute the world’s oceans.
The devices are fledgling attempts to dent an estimated 8.8 million tons (8 metric tons) of plastic that gets into the ocean every year. Once there, it maims or kills marine plants and animals including whales, dolphins, and seabirds and accumulates in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and other vast swirls of currents.
Trash-gobbling traps on rivers and other waterways won’t eliminate ocean plastic but can help reduce it, say officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Program.
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