Action today so future generations can enjoy ocean activities
Marina Trash Skimmers
TACKLING MARINE DEBRIS WITH TECHNOLOGY
Removing debris is a big part of the solution, but some of the problem requires innovative technology. In 2016 we launched the Marina Trash Skimmers Project funded by 11th Hour Racing for tackling the growing epidemic of water pollution and marine debris via the Marina Trash Skimmer® (MTS). The MTS was invented by Louis Pasov in 2000 and designed exclusively for the removal of trash and pollutants at a commercial scale. This project strengthens and expands the current efforts for improving water quality and eliminating marine debris. The goal is to reduce the amount of marine debris in coastal waters, increase the recreational value of the waterfront, bring awareness to the types of re-accumulating debris, and promote environmental stewardship. Since 2016 the program has expanded with installations and plans as listed below. Please contact us if you would like to learn more and get involved.
The power of partnerships is extremely important for the success of the Marina Trash Skimmer program. These partnerships are developed between sailing centers, marine trade industries, private businesses and local governments to address persistent marine debris and pollution issues, with a goal to foster environmentally responsible behaviors on land to eliminate marine debris.
For all Marina Trash Skimmer installations, COA seeks a partner to manage operations and a partner to coordinate education, outreach and marketing. Operational partners are responsible for daily operations, such as removal of debris from the unit, weekly upkeep, and seasonal maintenance linked to anti-fouling or prevention of ice-creations. Educational partners are responsible for energizing the environmental impact of the technology through data collection and community events. As the facilitator of the units, COA helps to direct partners on maintenance requirements and coordinates debris removal around data collection, as well as education and outreach events. The Marina Trash Skimmers helps our operators apply for Green Marina Certifications and brings positive awareness to the environmental work that they might be doing not only on the water but on land. For our Educators, the technology brings a new tool helping to advance or develop a plastic pollution curriculum within their organizations. In the spirt of working together to address a common issue, COA connects all partners together to look at our respected work in a holistic view, helping to converge on best practices for education, improving units effectiveness to remove debris, while generating new and exciting ways for community and corporate support.
COA and our partners perform an inspection of the debris removed by the skimmers one to three times a week. Inspection procedures include tracking and itemizing the debris removed using the Ocean Conservancy International Coastal Cleanup tally sheet. All site visit inspections are photo-documented, helping to visualize debris patterns in skimmer installed areas. Working with our partners, COA estimates debris collected daily providing metrics on pounds of debris removed each year. Data collected helps to tell the story of the types of material found within our waters and acts as a tool in which educated decisions can be made of how to solve the issue.
Weekly debris inspection aligns directly with the educational outreach of the Marina Trash Skimmer program. In 2017, COA developed a hands-on education and outreach program that brought both professional and student groups to visit the units for one-hour long sessions. These tours aim to educate the community about technology and the growing problem of plastic pollution in the marine environment.
COA uses the Marina Trash Skimmer data collected by interns, students, and volunteers to form a multi-generational community-based, data-driven citizen science campaign on Aquidneck Island. Data is presented to city officials and skimmer partners as a means of collaborating on solutions to reduce land litter from turning into marine debris. COA-driven advocacy has resulted in plastic bag bans throughout Aquidneck Island retailors and a ban of smoking on island beaches.
The Marina Trash Skimmers are stationary collection devices that are easily attached to any powered floating dock. The units operate 24 hours a day and seven days a week, drawing water through its intake doors via a 3⁄4 horsepower motor. Skimmer pump circulates 375 gallons of water per minute and effectively traps floating inorganic material.
The Marina Trash Skimmer technology collects debris ranging in sizes from micro particles to water bottles to large wooden planks. In addition to debris removal, each unit is equipped with an aerator to help oxygenate the surrounding water, helping to emulsifying and concentrate gases and oil. Free-floating organic material that is inevitably trapped within the system serves as a natural sponge removing these toxic pollutants.
Marina Trash Skimmer pumps require 30 AMP 120V of electrical power. The units are estimated to use 13 Kwh/day, which is equivalent to about a dollar. Skimmers do also have the ability to operate via solar power.
Marina Trash Skimmers create a surface current that is strong enough to pull in free-floating debris but is not able to trap marine life. Curious creatures can make their way inside the unit and can easily find their way out. However, planktonic wanders like Jellyfish will get stuck; units are temporally turned off while they pass.