Aquatic Litter Cleanup – References and Ideas

One example of litter trapping – Permanent Debris Booms by Bolina Booms.

On this page I will keep notes on litter-trapping – including references to other websites, and perhaps some ideas of my own.

References – Cleanup Technology

References – Trapping Technology

Recycled Island Foundation – Netherlands – develop passive Litter Traps mostly from recycled plastic.

Versatech – manufacturer of river & marine booms – they look very sturdy, including debris booms.

Bolina Booms – UK manufacturer of river booms for including environment booms and more specifically permanent debris booms for trapping litter. They appear to be restrained at each end by a pole, which allows vertical movement as river-levels vary. Used for example in Netherlands, France, a marina in Scotland, above dam spillways, throughout River Severn. Customers all over UK including water-boards, EA, etc. Generally angled to river so debris accumulates in one corner for easier extraction. Smooth on one side to allow easy scraping away of debris.

Nautic Expo – links to booms by a wide range of manufacturers.

Mr Trash Wheel – looks interesting – since it uses water-power to also scoop up the litter gathered by the booms, and places it into a skip. A swan-shaped one could be quite nice / less inclined to freak out the locals… 🙂


  • Companies responsible for waterways should install litter-traps, such as debris-booms, at key locations on their rivers – e.g. as they leave major towns and cities, upstream of weirs – I imagine upstream of weirs is particularly feasible since that portion of river will not be navigable in the first place so won’t be less so as a result of the boom. These should be regularly cleaned out by a responsible party. Q: how much litter would they catch? What proportion would be too deep to be caught by these?
  • Once the traps are in place (or even in lieu of them) come up with an efficient means of collecting litter that has accumulated on river banks – e.g. perhaps a marine equivalent of a road-sweeper mounted on a barge or pontoon? Would be a lot more painstaking than a road-sweeper, since operator would have to be working around existing wildlife including reed-beds, trees, awkward river shape, etc. Having a litter-trap installed up-stream should greatly reduce the frequency of such litter-sweeps, though.
  • Invest in more litter-bins particularly in the vicinity of water-courses.
  • Invest in public campaigns to reduce littering / take rubbish home / find a bin.

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