Collec-Thor – a machine that pulls trash and debris from the water – has been installed at Fisherman’s Wharf in Steveston.
This is the first such “trash skimmer” to be used on the west coast of North America, and it will collect both solid and liquid waste that’s floating on the Fraser River.
The city is piloting the device with the Steveston Harbour Authority and Swim Drink Fish Canada, a volunteer-driven environmental group to test its feasibility.
They will also conduct waste audits to see what types of material are being pulled from the water.
Examples of what they expect to find are plastic bottles, packaging, microplastics and hydrocarbons.
“Because plastic items and other waste materials are polluting our waterways, this innovative trash skimmer is another way we can take action to clean up our environment and increase awareness,” said Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie in a press release.
Statistics from UNESCO’s Intercontinental Oceanographic Commission found that 80 per cent of all marine pollution is plastic waste, and eight to 10 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the ocean each year.
There are currently about 50-75 trillion pieces of plastic and microplastics in the ocean.