Tackling the rising tide of plastic pollution

These shallow draft boats feature a removable catchment basket These shallow draft boats feature a removable catchment basket

UK based workboat specialists Water Witch are leading designers in specialist trash retrieval and waterway cleanup craft for Ports and Marinas.

Designed to be manoeuvrable in hard to reach areas, these shallow draft boats feature a removable catchment basket which collects and filters debris and plastics through it’s inverted ‘mouth’ in the same way as a plankton feeder would do in the natural world. These aluminium boats are specifically designed to efficiently collect smaller plastic items such as coffee cups, plastic bottles, food wrappers, styrofoam and plastic bags.

Drinks bottles are one of the most common types of plastics found in our marine environment – some 480 billion plastic bottles are sold globally, and it is estimated that about 10 million tonnes of plastic currently ends up in the oceans every year.

Marine life is facing “irreparable damage” from the millions of tonnes of plastic waste which ends up in the oceans each year, the United Nations has warned.

For sea birds and larger marine creatures such as dolphins and turtles, plastic is incredibly harmful – either by becoming entangled in it or mistaking it for food.  A recent investigation of a whale death in Norway found 30 plastic bags in it’s stomach.

Plastics are designed to last a very long time, and unfortunately nearly all the plastic ever created still exists in some form.  Plastic ends up as tiny fragments which appear to hang suspended below the surface – often referred to as plastic soup.  This ends up in the food chain, and research by Plymouth University in the UK found plastic in a third of UK caught fish.

Director of Water Witch, Jackie Caddick said, “Floating and suspended plastics and man-made debris is so easy to retrieve with our specialist collection vessels and relatively low cost.  Eighty per cent of ocean plastics originate from inland, so cleaning our lakes, rivers, harbours and ports needs to be a priority if we are to tackle the problem.   Our system is simple but highly efficient and has been time tested, with over 200 specialist vessels in operation world-wide.  Port and Harbour operators should be keen to demonstrate a commitment to keeping our marine environment clean and safe, not just for their own immediate benefit, but for the world as a whole.

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