A Floating Robot That Eats Trash From Rivers

Former NASA engineer Mark Rober, (previously) and vlogger MrBeast engaged in a worthwhile contest to see who could pick up the most trash on a Dominican Republic beach. MrBeast worked with a team of worthy compatriots to shovel up the waste, while Roper employed the Interceptor, a brilliant garbage-eating robot built by Dutch inventor Boyan Slat.

Slat, who heads up The Ocean Cleanup, spoke with Roper about how he got the idea for the robot.

I went scuba diving in Greece and I looked around me and I just saw more plastic bags than fish and I was just so disappointed by that that I thought why can’t we just clean this up? That kind of started a few things for me.

Roper explained Slat’s philosophy behind the robot

Removing trash directly from the ocean itself…that’s only half the problem because to make a lasting impact you’ve also got to cut the pollution off at the source and turn the spigot off and as it turns out eighty percent of the plastic flowing to the ocean from rivers comes from just one percent of the rivers so their idea is to put these trash eating robots on those worst offending rivers and that will go a long way to fixing the problem at the source. 

He also explained how the robot works.

So step one is to anchor it near the bank of the river and then as trash floats down the river it runs into this barrier on the surface of the water which shepherds the trash towards the mouth of the thing and then once the trash is funneled in it travels up this conveyor belt after which it’s dropped in one of these six floating dumpsters…once they’re full the interceptor can stay put while the dumpsters are flotilla’d down the river where whatever can be recycled is recycled and the rest is properly disposed of using the local waste management system. 

While Roper was enjoying the lack of manual labor, MrBeast and his team were working hard. In the end, MrBeast and his team collected more trash than the robot. While this was a contest in good fun, both of them are reaching out to viewers to contribute to Team Seas in order to continue aiding in removing trash from our oceans and rivers. They set a goal to reach by January 31, 2022.

Help us remove 30 million pounds of trash by January 1st, 2022.