A Danish company, RanMarine Technology, has invented an aqua-drone called “The WasteShark” to help tackle plastic pollution.
The drone is modelled and named after the largest fish in the world, the whale shark. Like the whale shark, it uses a filter feed system but instead of plankton it hoovers up plastic waste, which it stores in its belly. The WasteShark is capable of swimming for up to 16 hours at a time and can collect 200 litres of garbage in one trip. It can be steered manually via remote control or through a plotted map on a tablet. It is also capable of running tests for water quality and its designers say it does not pose a threat to fish or birds.
The company does not have plans to take the drone into the open oceans but they believe they can tackle the plastic pollution crisis at the source by vacuuming up waste in ports and harbours. Indeed, it has already run successful trials in Rotterdam and Baltimore.
Could innovations such as these help stem plastic pollution cluttered in ports and harbours? If so, what financial incentives are needed to kickstart a widespread clean-up of ports? Could the WasteShark model inspire innovation to tackle the micro-plastic fog in the world's oceans?