Keeping The Philippines’ Surface Waters Clean With Kabooms

[Rich] over at Tropical Ocean Cleanup on YouTube has been working hard to prevent plastic waste from getting into the waters around the Philippines. Even as a mostly one-man crew, he’s collecting large sums of plastic waste using a boom system which he fittingly made out of waste: old tires and empty plastic bottles. This Kaboom system is a low-cost method of capturing any waste so that it can be collected and properly disposed of. In addition [Rich] also installs containers where locals can dispose of their plastic trash.

The Kaboom system is detailed by [Rich] in this video (also linked after the break). As a shoestring budget project, it relies heavily on donations and local support to install more of these booms. It is however a highly effective way to prevent such common plastic waste from making it into the oceans in the first place. Having these booms made out of waste items that are commonly found where humans roam should make this a snap.

Ideally, local governments would be installing such capturing systems and easy waste disposal options, but sometimes it seems grassroots efforts like these are what will bring the fastest change.

Curious about what to do with all that plastic waste once you collect and identify it? How about making some plastic bricks?

34 thoughts on “Keeping The Philippines’ Surface Waters Clean With Kabooms

    1. That would be ideal, but the problems are likely far more complex than that.
      In many cases the infrastructure for trash removal doesn’t exist or isn’t readily available to all people. In other cases, people just don’t know any better.
      I think that this is a good solution, especially if used in concert with education and improvements in infrastructure.

      1. I’m sure that’s part of it but honestly, humans are horrific polluters even when there is good infrastructure. People will go to my local park and just ignore the trash that falls out of their car when they open the doors. Humans are the biggest waste of potential.

          1. People just do whatever is convenient.

            Switzerland solved this by placing rubbish bins every 100 metres.

            Switzerland is not responsible for plastic in the ocean. New Zealand is. So is the Philippines.

            The bus drivers at Botany Town Centre, east Auckland, have hacked together an excellent solution: cardboard boxes.

            When a box is available, people put rubbish into it. We just need a lot more boxes. Black bags seem to work too. Some people remove them, but then the litter returns, so I have to keep replacing them. Educating people to return the bin to its rightful location will take a few iterations, but seems to be working with the park staff at least (who I’ve never met).

          2. Switzerland has a viable waste management system, and very little coastline. New Zealand also has a viable waste management system, but no people.

            10 river systems carry between 88 and 99% of the plastic that ends up in the ocean from rivers.

            Eight of them are in Asia: the Yangtze; Indus; Yellow; Hai He; Ganges; Pearl; Amur; Mekong; and two in Africa – the Nile and the Niger.

      2. Yes, and I think this project could help with the education side of things too. It provides a visible display of how much trash from the local area is ending up in the waterway.

    2. Great idea! How do you plan on modifying the problem behavior then? Where’s your solution?

      Oh… you just wanted to write a throwaway comment poo-pooing someone’s efforts to actually fix things instead of offering anything constructive… So your comment here is the digital equivalent of throwing trash somewhere it doesn’t belong.

      Here’s ways to make your comment more valuable to readers: Think about the problem and discuss solutions and improvements instead of just making what amount to animal noises about how the problem shouldn’t exist.

      Think harder. Your brain is a wonderful tool and shouldn’t be left unused.

      1. My solution was literally in my comment “how about not throwing your trash onto the street or into a river”. It was just a suggestion which I thought would help. Perhaps I should have elaborated for the hard of reading, but maybe some people hadn’t considered it. It’s out there now though, so we’ll see what happens.

    1. Just don´t use straws if you don´t like those. Or bring your own plastic straw and reuse it over and over. Or if it´s impractical for you, have it grafted to your buccal orifice like a butterfly.

          1. Pshaw! Everyone knows that plates are made of paper. What else could they be made of? I certainly haven’t heard of any alternative that could possibly work.

    2. Your comment ignores the agency and choice exercised by the humans banning the straws. You’re viewing groups you disagree with as mechanical rather than human.

      Plastic straws got banned because people caught emotionally moving video of animals suffering because of them. Same reason pandas get saved ahead of un-cute critters.

      Trying to interpret people through the lens of a media company’s desperation for clicks will always mislead you.

      If you want a straw they’re still available in other materials. Many are easily reusable if you don’t mind washing your own dishes.

    1. The maker seems to be targeting where they can make the biggest difference with what’s available. I’m sure they’d like to capture everything, but literally every bit of effort helps.

      I wonder if there’s a similarly easy method for handling submerged pieces without clogging and flooding? I’m not clever with hydrodynamic mechanisms though.

  1. I really enjoy watching Tropical Ocean Cleanup videos. Maybe that’s because I live in Germany and find the struggle with capriciousness, inertia and occasional blatant stupidity of local authorities very relatable (cue cities green-washing their image while at the same time taking legal action against people which pay small-scale PV setups out of their own pockets, making them tear them down again).
    It becomes clear from the videos that this is not an over-hyped campaign that does something basic just to please the sponsors. It’s a daily struggle to keep the infrastructure going, to try and get people involved and even have the garbage picked up.
    Despite all the unnecessary complications, it’s nice to see some locals get involved, either as Eco Warrior volunteers, local kids joining in, or workers hired on a daily basis from the little financial support Rich managed to organize through talking about the endeavor on Youtube.
    In locations like these, you can’t solve problems as you would in more developed regions of the world. Can’t build a stainless steel rake powered by a local solar farm and monitor garbage with fancy, satellite internet connected cameras. Sometimes you have to make do with a pile of waste and a few meters of rope.
    Hackaday could look more into less shiny hacks born out of necessity, not abundance :)

    1. Thank you for drawing my attention to this phenomenal project. Great public relations campaign and also STEM inspiration landmark. Wow.

      Also, have to express my enthusiasm to Kaboom project as well. No greater admiration than that of people who put their idealism into direct action for helping others.

  2. Plastic is the most effective carbon capture system at the moment. It works on the same principle the original carbon capture era worked: by creating a molecule (wood vs plastic) that can not yet be broken down by bacteria. As a result the carbon accumulates slowly over time and gets sequestered in soil strata. A few million years from now a next civilization then has easy access to energy to kickstart its age of technology.

  3. In 40 weeks, alone and unpaid [Tropical Ocean Cleanup] appears to have done more to clean up the planet than the average overpaid Government rep or fossil fuel mega corp lobbyist the world over has done in the last 40 years.

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