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The Oslo Port Authority purchased a small, portable Deeptrekker mini-ROV which gives the harbour authority a fish-eye view of the underwater ‘islands of trash’.

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Litter scans

The initial scans uncovered quantities of trash including fishing gear, cage traps, rubber gloves, tires, bikes, miscellaneous bits of steel and a moped. This was followed up by an intensive, four-hour clearing session by volunteers from the Indre Oslofjord dive club, the Dykkerforbundet (national diving association) together with the Marinereperatørene, a professional organisation.

While this operation focused on the 100 m of seabed directly in front of the quay, port’s chief engineer Edvin Kongsten Wibetoe expects future searches to find other patches where rubbish has accumulated after being picked up by the current, which may include sunken fishing vessels and historical artefacts.

Litter port bins

The harbour is working hard to tackle marine litter. Along with self-compacting landside litter receptacles, the harbour has a marine ‘bin’ which passively traps flotsam and retains it for pickup. This Norwegian technology is helping to solve pollution problems in ports by collecting waste from the water surface. It has been created by SpillTech and developed over the past year, in cooperation with the port of Sandefjord and with support from Innovation Norway.

The pollution toolbox, an automated waste collector for use in ports' ‘trash coves’, run on onshore power, works on the principle of weir-type skimmers, creating a suction on the surface that allows it to collect waste in a 30-liter container, which is then emptied manually when needed. Four ports in southern Norway, the ports of Copenhagen and now Oslo are using the Norwegian-developed technology to collect waste from the water surface, as the country's ports suffer increasing littering that impacts water quality.

Although the port bin works well, it needs emptying every day and resources for doing that are not always available. Therefore, the Oslo Port is now collaborating with manufacturer Spilltech on a bigger, 1m3 capacity version which should hold a week’s worth of refuse.

Oslo works already for more than 10 years at the Great Clean-Up of the Oslo Fjord remediating contaminated sediments. Earlier this year, Oslo’s Port Authority approved a high-tech trash-removal plan: drones, to locate underwater ‘islands of trash’, giving the harbour greater environmental credibility. And yes, the Oslo Port is the only representation in Scandinavia of ESI (Environmental Ship Index)and of WPCI (World Ports Climate Initiative) granting chips discounts on disposal fees.

Source:  Rachel Dovey in nextcity.org – greenport.com – Oslo Port presentation, The Green Port to Oslo, June 2013.
Illustration photo: SpillTech