Saving The Sea With Waste Barriers

Lazio – a central Italian administrative region which includes the city of Rome – recently announced that it has already removed more than 10 tons of trash from the region’s rivers with the use of waste-catcher barriers (or barriera acchiapparifiuti in Italian). The trash traps are designed to collect plastic and other rubbish dumped in rivers before it reaches the sea. They are installed in three major rivers, the Aniene, the Tevere and the Gargliano.

Each module, which is 1 meter long, is capable of reaching a depth of 95 centimeters. They are arranged side by side to create a rigid containment barrier that, in cases of flood or emergency, is able to be opened quickly. The devices intercept and accumulate floating trash, which is collected by boat or with a mechanical spider at least twice a week. The waste is then stored in suitable containers at a temporary warehouse and then to a plant for selection and subsequent recycling into street furniture or disposal. About 14% of the collected trash is made up of PET bottles, which are recyclable.

“More than 30,000 bottles have been recovered as well as about 1.5 tons comprising fuel canisters, tires, refrigerators, gas cylinders, water heaters, helmets, mattresses, ping pong tables, washing machines,” said Lazio Region’s President Nicola Zingaretti.  

The project, which was commissioned by the Lazio regional government, is carried out in collaboration with RomaNatura, and with the plastic recovery consortium, Corepla.

“This action of these barriers is an example that makes us particularly proud because we are preventing tons of waste from reaching the sea, we have turned on an important spotlight to raise awareness on the issue of young and adult citizens, and we have also activated a virtuous process of circular economy with the recycling of collected plastic. The results are excellent and therefore we will continue to invest with European and regional funds in this type of project and in other rivers in the region,” stated Cristiana Avenali, head of river contracts.