published on 19 July 2018 in energy

Fishing for waste along the River Po

The operation against marine debris begins with the longest river in Italy, thanks to an initiative called “Il Po d’AMare”, the first experimental project to prevent marine litter presented yesterday (18 July) at the Castello Estense in Ferrara. The project, promoted by the Sustainable Development Foundation, Corepla and Castalia, and achieved thanks to the institutional coordination of the Po River District Authority with the patronage of the Municipality of Ferrara and of AIPO (Inter-regional Agency for the River Po), involves innovative techniques for intercepting waste in the river waters and, with regard to plastic, selection and sending it off for recycling.
In order to limit marine pollution, in fact, we must begin with rivers, which form the preferential route whereby the waste – especially macroplastics – reach the sea. Recent studies show that over 80% of plastic arriving in the sea is transported by rivers and derives from activities on dry land. The River Po, which crosses the whole of Northern Italy, through 4 regions and 13 provinces, helps to make the Adriatic Sea the Italian sea with the highest quantity of waste.
Collection of floating waste foreseen by the pilot project will make use of “Seasweepers” –  a system of fixed nets and shallow draught craft (Sea Hunters), to limit and collect floating or partially submerged plastic arriving from rivers.

Waste recovery operations. Credits: TeleAmbiente

The system of floating SeaSweeper barriers does not interfere with the life of the river and does not cause damage to the flora and fauna, in that collection takes place only in the surface section of the water column. The waste collected will be taken ashore and then transported to the Transeco plant at  Zevio (VR), about 75 km away, where the initial separation of the various fractions will take place, as well as selection of the plastic component to be sent for subsequent processing and disposal of the extraneous fraction that cannot be recovered. The plastic fraction will then be sent to the D.R.V. selection centre (in Torretta a Legnago, VR), a Corepla separation centre that uses a network of optical readers to subdivide the packaging according to the various polymeric fractions to be sent for recycling or energy recovery.
The anti-marine litter barrier has been installed in the stretch of the River Po at  Pontelagoscuro (Municipality of  Ferrara) 40 km from the mouth of the river to enable estimation of the waste present along almost the whole course of the river. The costs of this pilot project – lasting approximately two months – will be entirely covered by Castalia and Corepla, with the aim of assessing the possibility of building an actual permanent chain.

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