Collecting and disposing of the gigantic amounts of plastic waste that already pollutes our oceans does not have a one-size-fits-all solution. One of them is to stop the flow of plastic from the rivers, and that’s what these Vietnam garbage traps are for.
They may not be as high-tech as the Ocean Cleanup interceptors, but the idea is similar. The first in a series of trash traps installed along Vietnam’s Song Hong, the country’s second longest river (also known as the Red River), is designed to remove floating debris from the water when it empties into the Gulf of Tonkin.
The latest science confirms that we need a range of solutions to tackle plastic pollution in the oceans, from reducing our reliance on single-use plastics to improving waste collection and recycling and cleanup of plastic waste that ends up in the environment.
Rivers are often a route by which plastics reach the sea, so these types of litter traps are important clean-up tools. What makes this particular model so unique and promising is that it is inexpensive, locally designed and made from locally sourced materials.
Chever Voltmer, Ocean Conservancy.
The trash traps are the work of Vietnam’s Center for Marine Life Conservation and Community Development (MCD), which has been testing them on the Song Hong for a year and has already collected more than 18 tons of floating debris.
Now, with funding from the Ocean Conservancy, more traps will be set along the river and its tributaries in Nam Dinh province over the next two years.
The litter trap has floating barriers and platforms connected to the river bank.
A local team removes and sorts the trapped waste every three days. Plastic waste, such as bottles, is sold to recycling facilities, while low-grade plastic, such as bags, is processed at a special facility in Nam Dinh.
It doesn’t appear that the solution is intended to deal with microplastics, but with MCD’s plans to build a network of traps in the Song Hong Delta, it could help stem the tide of plastic waste reaching the seas and oceans from rivers. Vietnam.
More information: oceanconservation.org