Microplastics are supposedly impossible to be separated from the sand, so 12 Canadian students designed the 'Hoola One' to do the job.
Despite waving the warning signs of the harmful aftermath of plastic pollution for the past couple of years, the ecological crisis seems to be quickening by the second. Scientists are coming up with innovative ways to break down the non-biodegradable compound chemically, however, that alone cannot rid the earth of its plastic accumulation all at once. Unfortunately, the water bodies become the point of accumulation for all the world's trash by default. Of course, many clean-up programs have been launched by environmentalists but is it enough to clear the plastic debris-covered beaches?
Amidst these serious challenges comes another. Say, one picks up the plastic from the shore and renders the area clean but does that really rid of this unbreakable compound? Of course not. This is due to the accumulation of the millions of tiny microplastics lining the beaches. These minute structures are impossible to separate from the tiny sand particles. Thankfully, a group of engineers recognized this problem and after an extensive amount of research, came up with a solution.
A bunch of 12 Canadian students studying at the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec successfully built a gigantic vacuum cleaner that separates these microplastics and leaves the sand particles on the beach in its natural place. During a class project, these students came up with this amazing new technology which they named Hoola One. Speaking to Hawaii Public Radio, one of the co-founders, Sam Duval, explained how they learned of the unavailability of a machine that could remove the micro-plastics from the lovely beaches.
"We did some research and we realized there was no machine around the world to do this kind of job," said Duval. "So we told each other, ʻWe will invent it,’ and we did it." So, how does this thing work? Hoola One has an extended hose that is operated manually. Similar to your usual vacuum cleaner, this machine, too, sucks up the plastic mixed sand and dumps it inside a huge tank containing water. Now, as the rock and sand particles are heavier than plastic they sink to the base of the tank while the plastic floats on top of the water surface.
After this separation process is completed they dump the rock and sand particles back onto the beach. Although it was a small class project, they decided to check it's efficiency in the real world. During the last two weeks in April, the group went over to Hawaii’s Kamilo Beach, which is often regarded as one of the dirtiest beaches in the world. Their first prototype was ready to take on the challenging plastic-ridden sandy beach. Initially, it did experience quite a number of technical problems, but the students were able to fix these glitches and ultimately clean up the place.
AI-empowered plastic collection scheme👏👏👏👏 The Novel technologies have the capacity of accelerating to the transition #CircularEconomy.— Ghislain Irakoze (@iraghislain) June 29, 2019
Once the place was all tidy, the generous students decided to leave the enormous vacuum cleaner on the island in the form of a donation to the State Department, according to reports. Right now the team is researching the ecological impacts that the process of vacuuming has on the beaches. Apart from this study, the group is also looking for sponsorships and fundings, in order to produce some more of these Hoola One vacuums. We really hope that this group is successful in its endeavor and if it is, we would finally have the equipment to clean all the beaches all around the world.
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
Water bodies, especially seas and oceans cover the largest part of our heavenly planet and this fact makes it easier for people to dump their garbage there. This poses a great threat to the creatures that reside in these oceans. Surely, you have chanced upon several incidents when turtles have died due to the consumption of this indigestible material? Due to the presence of plastic in their bellies, the turtles often have the feeling of being full and quit searching for food. This leads to starvation which is followed by death. Several areas are now working towards stopping the use of this harmful material. And while the ban on single-use plastic has already been observed in some countries, there are others who need to join the bandwagon.
Plastic bags cause serious issues for wildlife. They're often carried out to sea, leaving turtles and fish tangled with no escape. It's not just the bags, #plastic pollution has a huge negative impact on all #wildlife.— Born Free Foundation (@BornFreeFDN) June 26, 2019
Learn how you can make a difference: https://t.co/qpfantABiU pic.twitter.com/wkJ9i0UKWy