Rio de Janeiro project seeks sustainable solution to floating sea trash

Rio de Janeiro, Jun 7 (EFE).- A project launched on Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro, on the eve of World Ocean Day, is seeking a sustainable solution for collecting floating trash in coastal areas.

The initiative, the “Orla sem lixo” (Coast without trash) project, got under way on Wednesday on a beach in Guanabara Bay, one of Rio’s most iconic spots, but also one of the most polluted.

Almost 80 tons of trash, mostly plastics, show up each day in this inlet via the rivers that flow into it, around which are located a large number of the municipalities in the Rio metro area.

Although other projects have been started in the past to reduce the amount of floating garbage in the bay, these have not been sustainable and some have even degraded the environment along the shore.

The project, the pilot phase for which began with setting up a containment barrier 200 meters (about 650 feet) long, aspires to provide a sustainable solution to the trash problem, as project coordinator Susana Vinzon, from Argentina, said.

The idea is for the active participation of the community to create circular economy that creates jobs and income, and for it to transform the garbage and return it to the production chain.

“For environments like Guanabara Bay, we’ve got a long-term aim, which is to attain a work and income model that includes the fishing communities in the area so that the solution is perpetuated,” Vinzon, an expert on water resources and a full professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), told EFE.

Vinzon said that in Guanabara Bay there are almost 1,000 fishermen, of whom 25 are working as part of the project, although that number could be expanded to about 100.

The leaders of the Orla sem lixo project say that it has the possibility of being replicated at other Brazilian bays.

The floating trash is something that affects their daily livelihoods of the shore communities since it makes fishing and nautical sports activities more difficult.

In addition, it poses a danger for marine navigation and air traffic by attracting birds, interferes with the growth and health of mangroves and affects local marine life and diversity.

As part of the project, a group of marine biologists and coastal engineers will measure the impact – positive or negative – of the containment barrier and how it affects the local tides and winds.

This is the second such barrier to be installed on the shore of Guanabara Bay, with the first one already operating in a small area of mangroves.

EFE mat/mp/bp

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