A balance has to exist between the living creatures such as plants, animals and the habitat for the sustained and proper functioning of the environment. However, we as human beings make sure it doesn’t happen. In fact, for every progressive step human beings created in any field be it science, technology or others, the environment went through regression. This includes from destroying the forests, throwing garbages to slaughtering animals.
One such impacts on the environment that are alarmingly large to measure is plastic pollution. Accumulation of plastics in oceans and beaches is becoming a global crisis at an unimaginable rate. As per the report, at current rates plastic is expected to outweigh all the fish in the sea by 2050.
Since it is non-biodegradable, a single plastic bag can remain for at least 10-15 years or even longer under the soil or ocean. With that being said, an estimated one hundred million metric tons of plastic are present in the Earth’s oceans. How sad?
In reality, plastics have a direct and deadly effect on marine lives, where thousands of seabirds, sea turtles, seals, whales, dolphins and other mammals are killed each year upon ingesting plastics or getting entangled in it.
The presence of plastics according to statistics is nothing but a human callousness!
Realising the sensitivity of this matter, a drone technology company from the Netherlands is taking up the issue in its hand in a bid to clear the world’s seas from trash. Based out of Rotterdam, RanMarine Technology specialises in remote-controlled and autonomous drones called ‘WasteSharks’ that swim through water, extracting unwanted material and gathering data about their marine environment as well.
Inspired by largest fish on sea – Whale sharks!
Inspired by the planets biggest fish, the Whale Shark, Wastesharks, is a drone designed to be efficient, long-lived, non-threatening and unobtrusive. According to the company, this drone will eat plastics and other litter; detect chemicals in the water; extract alien and pest vegetation. Wastesharks are both human-operated via remote control or through a plotted map on an iPad and autonomous with zero greenhouse emissions as well.
According to Richard Hardiman, CEO of RanMarine Technology, the idea came to him as he was sitting at the Cape Town Waterfront observing two men in boats trying to scoop the plastics from the water.
Collect up to 200 litres of trash and does much more than that!
Capable of swimming for up to 16 hours, Wastesharks can collect up to 200 litres of trash in one trip. Moreover, it also comes equipped with a feature that is capable of transmitting information to a central command like data on pH levels, conductivity, salinity, ammonium, chloride, dissolved oxygen, nitrate and other parameters.
Initial focus on waste chokeholds, not on open oceans
Otherwise called as aquadron, it is currently employed to collect trash in waste chokeholds like canals, harbours, rivers and ponds. Having said that, the company at present does not have plans to take the aquadron out in the open oceans.
It is good to know that various countries including South Africa, the United States, India, the United Arab Emirates, the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden are making use of the product to clear the mess. Recently, the wastesharks was employed in partnership with Dubai Marina Yacht Club, that can run 24 hours per day and is even capable of collecting oil from the surface of the water.
Let’s contribute on our part too!
RanMarine’s SharkPod project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. Moreover, it has also partnered with UN’s Clean Seas campaign and the Plastic Soup Foundation.
This is only the beginning, but it takes an unrealistic amount of time to clean the entire oceans. From our part to preserve the environment, we can try replacing plastic with paper or other recyclable products. It’s in our hand to reuse and recycle before it is too late for the Earth’s oceans and its lives.
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