Plastic waste in the oceans has often been discussed publicly for some time now. Especially microplastics are the focus of attention. Many NGOs (independent and internationally active, non-profit organizations) have dedicated themselves to protecting and preserving the oceans. The start-up ‚everwave‘ from Aachen is also pursuing these goals. More precisely, the company helps remove waste from lakes, rivers or reservoirs through creative techniques and processes. BERKY boats are an efficient solution for carrying out their mission.
Up to four million tonnes of plastic waste are estimated to be discharged into the oceans each year. According to scientific studies, the Yangtze River flushes the largest amounts of waste into the sea. It flows from the highlands of Tibet via the megacities of Chongqing and Shanghai into the East China Sea. In Germany, some rivers are involved in discharging waste into the sea as well: Big and wide rivers in particular, such as the Rhine, also transport large amounts of waste.
It is assumed that mainly private households and industry are responsible for said discharge. Over the years, a huge floating accumulation of rubbish has formed between Hawaii and California. The so-called ‚Great Pacific Garbage Patch‘ covers an estimated 1.6 million square kilometres.
But not only through careless disposal, plastic waste ends up in rivers and lakes. It is also being washed into waters by surface runoff and heavy rain occurrences. Here, everwave wants to intervene and tries to solve the problem at its source by using appropriate and innovative measures.
One of these measures is the use of the garbage boat from the BERKY TRITON series. It is a mowing boat manufactured and modified by the company BERKY. Usually, mowing boats are used to collect harmful and invasive water plants. Besides that, the boat is able to remove the floating rubbish via conveyor belt, projecting into the water and collects it on a loading platform. In the reverse direction, the waste can be unloaded from the loading area with the help of the conveyor belt to the shore.
But the boat can do even more: it is able to recognise the different types of waste being collected by using artificial intelligence. In order to do so, the collected rubbish is recorded by a camera system and the stored data is analysed. This technology was developed in cooperation with everwave, BERKY and the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and is continuously tested and improved.
The BERKY garbage boat has already been successfully deployed on the Hron River as well as at the Ruzin Dam in Slovakia or on water reservoirs in Bosnia-Herzegovina. During the last cleanup mission of everwave in autumn 2021, more than 70 tonnes of waste were removed from said dam. In this case, too, a lack of waste infrastructure was the cause for the pollution.
But the boat has also been proven useful in German waters. After the flood disaster in the Ahrtal in 2021, it was able to help free the rivers and dam walls of the Urft and Rur from material that had been washed into the rivers by the flood.
The Aachen-based start-up plans to further improve existing methods and develop additional, innovative processes for cleaning water bodies in the future.
Building on established products and existing know-how, as evident in the partnership with the company BERKY, proven technology can be creatively repurposed. The machine builders from Haren (Ems) are already using more environmentally friendly techniques, are taking ecological aspects into account in the development of new machines and help other NGOs as partners in their fight against ocean pollution.
Photo: everwave GmbH
“A responsible society for healthy oceans.” This is the vision everwave lives by. Learn more here.