Recycled plastic boom to aid river litter fight

River litter crusaders Barry Walker and Shaun Callaghan beside their ‘litter boom’, which catches litter before it makes its way downstream to the ocean. The litter boom is seen here at lowtide, and even then, it still maintains its ability to trap pollution.

AN inventive recycling solution has been found for the burgeoning problem of litter which flows into local rivers and the ocean.

Two locals have crafted a litter boom out of used two-litre plastic bottles.

The first boom was constructed and placed in Amanzimtoti River near the taxi rank, as a lot of litter enters the river at this spot.

Barry Walker and Shaun Callaghan killed many birds with one stone when they constructed and installed the litter boom in the local river. They collected two litre bottles, strapped four bottles together and attached these together to create a chain, which they wrapped in shadecloth.

The floating boom spans the width of the river and catches not only litter floating on the surface. The boom also captures litter below the surface through a half metre deep section of shadecloth connected to the floating bottles. It is weighted down to keep it in place.

“When we were on-site at the river, constructing the boom, a homeless man told us we shouldn’t use sinkers to weigh down the shade cloth, as they will be stolen. We decided to rather place opened plastic two litre bottles on the ends, as they will fill with water and weigh down the shadecloth,” explained Shaun.

River litter crusaders Barry Walker and Shaun Callaghan beside their ‘litter boom’, which catches litter before it makes its way downstream to the ocean. The litter boom is seen here at lowtide, and even then, it still maintains its ability to trap pollution.

 

“We have already committed ourselves to do the clean-ups from time to time but I feel it is actually the municipality’s responsibility to clean-up. They are fully aware of the litter that gets left at the taxi rank and washes out of the river mouth.”

Shaun urged the community to assist by setting aside two litre plastic bottles and shadecloth, as they have identified at least three more spots along the river where a litter boom is needed. They wish to branch out further and construct these in several more rivers in due time. The collected bottles can be dropped off at Produce Direct along Main Road in Dooneside.

“This is a very effective way to reduce the litter in our rivers and stop it from going out to sea. When the river is full, the boom floats across and when empty, the same boom follows the contour of the river. Although we have taken this initiative, I feel it shouldn’t be our responsibility to continuously clean the river,” he said.”

Through this design, we are actually using litter to clean up the litter, which is clearly the way to go.”

Check out the video:

https://www.facebook.com/shaun.callaghan.92/videos/10156436494725664/

 

‘Ticking time bomb’ threat to Toti River’

While on site, Shaun was awakened to the ‘ticking time bomb’ of a fragile-looking sewerage pipe which runs beside Toti River.
Judging by its appearance, it is likely to give way. “I was told this is a sewage pipe. This bluish pipe’s underpinnings have been severely undermined (by soil erosion) and will collapse in no time. If it does, sewage will flow straight into this river.

There is also an open pipe pointing out into the river and I was told by the municipality when there’s an overflow or problem at the pumpstation, that pipe spews it into the river. The municipality is aware this happens but I don’t think they care.”

To report sewage in the river, call 080-1313-013 and log a ticket. Callaghan advised that residents should also call the health department and report the health risk, for it to be prioritised.

 

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  AUTHOR
Holly Konig
Journalist

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