Belgium uses giant 'vacuum cleaner' to remove plastic from nature reserve

By Clement Rossignol and Bart Biesemans BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Engineers have built a giant 'vacuum cleaner' to rid a Belgian nature reserve of millions of pieces of plastic litter too small to collect by hand. The Galgeschoor reserve, a site of mudflats and salt marshes in the port city of Antwerp, has become riddled with plastic particles that built up over years from litter deposited by industry and towns along the river Scheldt.

Reuters October 10, 2020 00:13:16 IST
Belgium uses giant 'vacuum cleaner' to remove plastic from nature reserve

Belgium uses giant vacuum cleaner to remove plastic from nature reserve

By Clement Rossignol and Bart Biesemans

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Engineers have built a giant 'vacuum cleaner' to rid a Belgian nature reserve of millions of pieces of plastic litter too small to collect by hand.

The Galgeschoor reserve, a site of mudflats and salt marshes in the port city of Antwerp, has become riddled with plastic particles that built up over years from litter deposited by industry and towns along the river Scheldt.

Port authorities last year launched a competition to design a solution to decontaminate the area, which is home to endangered bird species.

The winner: a huge hoover, dubbed the 'Nul-o-Plastic' and developed by Envisan, the environment division of maritime infrastructure company Jan De Nul Group.

"It's basically a vacuum cleaner which is really smart (and) adapted to this circumstances," engineer Tom Van Vooren, the project's coordinator, told Reuters.

The machine's rubber tyres limit soil disruption, and its suction mechanism is designed to avoid damaging plants.

The aim is to pull roughly 7.5 tonnes of plastic pellets out of the reserve. A first test concludes later this month.

Currently, less than a third of Europe's plastic waste is recycled. To help curb litter, the European Union is planning new rules to ensure all packaging can be reused or recycled, and will ban single-use plastic cutlery and straws from 2021.

(Reporting by Clement Rossignol, Bart Biesemans; writing by Kate Abnett; Editing by Gareth Jones)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.