New Debris Skimming Network Installed in Tennessee River

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – “The Tennessee River is our most important natural resource. It is literally and figuratively the essence of sustainability in Chattanooga, and that’s Chattanooga’s essence,” said Mayor Tim Kelly.

It’s world water day, and the Tennessee River behind me is now home to the largest network of litter skimming devices in the world.

They’re called sea-bins, and each one is capable of removing three thousand pounds of debris a year.

“These devices are designed to collect and filter out the small micro-plastics, as well as any gas and oil that’s in the water,” said Randy Hartman, Senior Director of Keep America Beautiful.

Much of the debris found in the Tennessee River are plastic bottles.

“The problem is they’re nice and light, and they get washed, when they get littered on the street, they get washed into our waterways with the next heavy rain or heavy winds,” said Kathleen Gibi, Executive Director of Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful.

Critically, these sea-bins are capable of catching small debris like Styrofoam, which is difficult to remove by hand.

“All that litter eventually, if it’s on the roadside or something, it goes into a waterway somewhere, and eventually leads to our streams and rivers,” said Ken Flynn, Regional Construction Manager for TDOT.

The Tennessee Aquarium intends to put the litter collected by sea-bins on display for the education of the public.

“Not as attractive as our fish, but also very important to have them on display to educate more about this problem and to make sure that we protect the Tennessee River,” said Dr. Anna George, Vice President of Conservation Science for the Tennessee Aquarium.

The full network of sea-bins will remove up to 54 thousand pounds of debris, every year.

Categories: Chattanooga, Environment, Featured, Hamilton County, Local News