Four students from the Croatian city of Split have designed a device for cleaning microplastics from the sea which, unlike other devices, is remote controlled and can move.
Croatian media report that students Antonija Buzov, Petra Kundid, Matej Radić and Andro Rudan have developed a system that can filter seawater and remove microplastics from it, and can be run by remote control, an updated feature compared to similar cleaners. .
“The problem with microplastics is that they absorb heavy metals, so when you swallow microplastic particles from the sea, you are actually swallowing heavy metals which can eventually lead to various cancers, bleeding and other diseases,” says Petra Kundid. , a PhD candidate in parasitology.
While microplastics are found on the surface and at the bottom of the sea, they initially envisioned a perforated roller with the properties of a sponge. However, after research, they created a semi-submerged box that filters and purifies the seawater that passes through it. They called the product “CBRO”.
“We used cheap materials because this kind of product normally requires a lot of money, which I believe, why individuals do not dare to ‘treat’ this problem,” Andro Rudan said while explaining their prototype.
“The propeller was printed on a 3D printer, the engine is from a drill and is powered by three batteries from no longer used laptops. The electronics and device are connected to the internet. We control the steering wheel and engine speed through the mobile phone, ”he said, adding that they intend to install sensors that would measure the amount of water passing through the device in order to obtain numerical data which would later be more easy to use in studies.
Plastics make up 85% of beach litter worldwide, while last year the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) announced that over 200,000 tonnes of plastics are dumped in the Mediterranean each year, with a stark warning that by 2040 the amount will double unless significant measures are taken.
At a plenary session in late March, in its resolution on marine litter, the European Parliament highlighted the damage it had caused to fisheries and called for urgent measures to reduce such litter, by further restricting the use of disposable plastic for promotion. of collection and recycling.
The resolution also called for a stronger inclusion of the maritime aspect in the European Green Agreement.