Kamilo Beach on Hawaii’s Big Island is considered one of the dirtiest beaches in the world, according to Hawai’i Public Radio. Trash washes onto the beach, and 90% of that trash is plastic.
This is a problem for sea life, as these animals often mistake plastic for food, which they can’t process. They sometimes starve to death due to the plastic in their stomachs.
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There is a way to clean microplastic from beaches. A video from the @bbc demonstrates how Hoola One works like a normal vacuum, sucking up sand and plastic from the beach. Inside the machine debris is separated by buoyancy – the plastic floats and the sand sinks – making it easier to capture plastic that would otherwise be missed if picking it up by hand. The machine can clean 17kg of sand per minute and was created by students at @usherbrooke in Canada. The machine was trialled and donated to the @wildhawaii for Kamilo Beach, also known as “Trash Beach” due to it being one of the worst areas affected by marine plastic. A superb example of engineering and innovation. Perhaps this is how we can begin tackling microplastics worldwide. #hoolaone #bethechange #cleanbeaches #plasticfreebeaches #bethesolution #coastalecosystems #plasticpollution #plasticfree #engineering #refuse #reduce #recycle #plasticbottles #plastics #sixmilesacrosslondon #saynotoplastics #zerowaste #protecttheenvironment #beachplastics #waronplastic #plasticban #banplasticbottles
A dozen mechanical engineering students at the University of Sherbrooke saw a video about Kamilo Beach and were inspired to come up with a solution. Their solution is the Hoola One.
The Hoola One is essentially a giant vacuum. It sucks up beach debris and dumps it into a tank of water. The plastic floats to the top and the sand sinks, and the sand can be redistributed to the beach.
The students tested the vacuum at Kamilo Beach and left it as a donation.
Robotics is the key to scaling solutions for ocean plastic pollution. While the Hoola One may be human-controlled, it is easy to visualize it being fully autonomous. Something to think about at the beach this summer. ?#circulareconomy #sustainabilitypic.twitter.com/lYPvjjqfKD
— Shawn P. Mitchell (@shawnpmitchell) June 28, 2019
The students are doing additional testing to make sure the vacuuming won’t negatively impact beaches, and they are looking for more sponsors to make more Hoola Ones.
Here’s hoping that this can help solve the problem of microplastics on beaches and keep our ocean life safe!