Today’s Solutions: January 31, 2023

Recently we shared a story about the Ocean Cleanup’s new venture to stop the flow of plastic waste from rivers into the marine environment.

Though they may not look as swanky as the Ocean Cleanup’s Interceptors, Vietnam’s recently installed trash traps follow the same line of thinking — intercept plastic litter in rivers before it flows down into our oceans.

The new trash traps are the first in a series to be installed along Vietnam’s Song Hong River, the country’s second-longest river, and are designed to remove plastic litter from the water as it flows towards the Gulf of Tonkin.

“Rivers often serve as a pathway for plastics to travel out to sea, so trash trappers like these are important cleanup tools. What makes this particular model so unique and promising is that it is inexpensive, locally designed, and made from locally sourced materials,” said the Ocean Conservancy’s Chever Voltmer.

The trash traps were designed by Vietnam’s Center for Marinelife Conservation and Community Development, which has been piloting them in the Soon Hong River for about a year — collecting more than 18 tons of plastic waste in the process.

The structures feature floating booms and platforms connected to the riverbank, and a local team removes and sorts the collected debris every three days. Plastic waste such as bottles is sold to recycling facilities while lower-grade plastics such as bags and films are processed at a special facility.

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