Session Chairs: Robert M Summers, KCI Technologies; Thomas Sprehe, KCI Technologies
Action-oriented people of all disciplines seeking methods to stop the flow of trash from cities to the marine environment now, the scale of the problem, and solutions being applied and planned in two very different parts of the world.
The world’s oceans are being buried in debris now. We have to stop the bleeding and remove the big pieces of debris before they break down and disperse in our waters as we seek more aggressive preventative measures, or it may be too late. The further marine debris travels into the world’s coastal waters and the sea, it becomes more a more difficult and expensive to remove and has more time and opportunity to wreak havoc on the ecosystem and human health. Baltimore,
Maryland and Rio de Janeiro are two very different cities that are taking aggressive action to control marine debris with mixed success. This session will explore the scope of the problem and the solutions that have been and are being tried now to reduce debris entering Chesapeake Bay and Gianabara Bay and ultimately the sea. Efforts in Baltimore are being driven by a unique private sector and public sector partnership. Rio de Janeiro is taking a government focused approach but action is also being driven by a non-profit sector effort that uses the marine environment as a teaching tool to educate and engage students from poor families living in the watershed.
presenting: Robert Summers (KCI Technologies, Inc., United States); authors: Robert Summers (KCI Technologies, Inc., United States), Thomas Sprehe (KCI Technologies, Inc.)
Waterborne trash, including plastics and micro-plastics is a world-wide problem that is growing rapidly. Plastic debris is accumulating in all of the world’s oceans in gyres resulting from natural ocean currents and is having profound effects on ecosystem and human health. Recent estimates are that 80% of the debris is coming from runoff from the land. In the U.S. waterborne trash is classified as a pollutant and is regulated by the Clean Water Act. A growing number of U.S. cities are beginning to address the problem and in 2015, the EPA approved a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for portions of Baltimore Harbor. Since then, Baltimore has developed a plan and begun taking steps to: install debris collection to capture trash within public storm system; enhance mechanical street sweeping, preventive inlet cleaning, and routine waterway cleaning; and encourage litter reduction and increased recycling. A very visible and popular part of Baltimore’s trash collection efforts is the Water Wheel Trash Interceptor — “Mr. Trash Wheel”. The large amount and types of trash collected by the wheel provides valuable information that is being used to help focus trash intervention actions in Baltimore. This presentation will cover ongoing trash reduction efforts and a recent proposal to expand Baltimore’s trash reduction efforts by engaging the private sector property owners that most benefit from a more aesthetically appealing, trash-free harbor. The presentation will provide an overview of Baltimore’s Trash TMDL, recommended actions that can be widely implemented to address trash and marine debris and describe methods being developed to quantitatively document progress on controlling water-borne trash that are applicable to many parts of the world that are beginning to address this significant global issue.
presenting: Robert Summers (KCI Technologies, Inc., United States); authors: Robert Summers (KCI Technologies, Inc., United States), Marlus de Oliveira (Secretaria de Estado do Ambiente)
In the years leading up to the 2016 Summer Olympics, held in Rio de Janeiro Brazil, control of pollution in Guanabara Bay by sewage and floating trash was a major focus of effort by the State of Rio de Janeiro. Uncontrolled landfills were closed and collected trash was directed to modern sanitary landfills with recycling facilities. “Eco-barriers” were placed at the mouth of major rivers discharging to the Bay to capture trash and collect it prior to being discharged to the Bay. As a last line of defense, a fleet of “eco-boats” was deployed to collect trash and floating debris in the Bay, with particular emphasis on the areas of the Bay where the Olympic sailing events and training and time trials were being held in the years leading up to the Olympics in August, 2016. Photos of floating debris and participants’ concerns about fast-moving boats crashing into large debris or being slowed by snags on keels and rudders were widely reported by the media leading up to the events. This presentation will focus on a description of the measures taken and the challenges that each part of the effort faced. monitoring and measurement of the impacts of each of the control measures will also be reported. Despite the challenges faced, the effort was very successful and no major injuries or other incidents occurred during the Olympics. The Rio de Janeiro waterfront has been transformed in preparation for the Olympics, opening up the Bay and its beauty to the general public and tourists alike, as exemplified by the Museum of Tomorrow on the Bay waterfront in downtown Rio. The trash control measures are still in place and being maintained to continue the legacy of improvements brought to Rio by the Olympics.