Rotterdam's Picturesque Floating Park Is Built Entirely From Recycled Plastic Waste


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Image Credit: Recycled

With an estimated 100,000 marine animals being choked, suffocated, or injured by plastic every year, the danger posed by the trillions of pieces of polymer floating in our oceans is well-known. However, given that most of the microplastics measure less than 0.5mm in diameter, collecting them is a challenging task. Now, some Dutch environmentalists have devised a way to not only capture plastic waste before it reaches the open seas and disintegrates, but to also use it to create a public park and wildlife sanctuary.

Image Credit: Recycled

Currently afloat in the Rotterdam harbor in the Netherlands, the 1500 square-foot Recycled Floating Park is the result of a five-year collaboration between the Wageningen University, WHIM Architecture, and the University of Rotterdam. The team began by developing a “plastic fisher,” a buoyant garbage collection device. Fitted with two folding arms that extend several feet into the water, it uses a net to catch wrappers, bottles, and any other debris that floats past.

The portable device, which took a year and a half to perfect, was then placed at the edge of the harbor to collect the urban trash accumulated in the New Meuse river, which rises in France and passes through Belgium and the Netherlands before draining into the North Sea. Since Rotterdam’s Nieuwe Waterweg (New Waterway) canal links the river to the North Sea, it was the ideal location to catch the “fresh” plastic waste before it disappeared into the open waters and disintegrated.

Image Credit: Recycled

The waste collected by the “plastic fisher” and hundreds of volunteers, who painstakingly combed the river banks, was then molded into 28 hexagonal floats which were connected to create the park. Some of the blocks are open to visitors, while others house various types of plants and even trees for nesting birds. The underside of the floats provides a suitable environment for algae, mussels, and fish. Ramon Knoester, project lead for WHIM Architecture, said, “We want to take the pollution from the river and give something back in return to restore and rebuild the ecosystem.” The environmentalists say the versatile recycled blocks can also be used to build sports arenas, public walkways, and cultural hubs. Hopefully, Recycled Floating Park’s success will encourage countries worldwide to adopt similar initiatives.


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Reading Comprehension (10 questions)

  1. How do we know that ocean plastic is dangerous to marine animals?
  2. Why is it hard to clean up the plastic in our oceans?

Vocabulary in Context

“The team began by developing a “plastic fisher,” a buoyant garbage collection device.”

In the above sentence, the word buoyant most likely means:

(a) tending...

  • chlooe
    chlooeWednesday, April 17, 2019 at 3:50 pm
    Now I know that the eraser I use called the "Hi-Polymer" eraser is made from recycled plastic! I am so clueless! 😅 Glad I learned something new!!!!
    • kiitenWednesday, April 10, 2019 at 9:27 am
      wow so cool
      • nut in meWednesday, April 10, 2019 at 9:27 am
        wow so cool
        • DanZ COCMonday, April 8, 2019 at 5:10 pm
          • apex is betterSunday, April 7, 2019 at 10:55 am
            the should make a cruise ship like that or something
            • cutereader12
              cutereader12Wednesday, March 27, 2019 at 12:37 pm
              This is a great way to recycle.
              • bigchungus666
                bigchungus666Wednesday, February 20, 2019 at 10:54 am
                somebody made something like this, though it was a house, named Spiral Island. He also made another, Joyxee Island.
                • uwu_owo
                  uwu_owoTuesday, January 22, 2019 at 10:44 am
                  this is a great idea and people should make these where i live
                  • kellencatmaster
                    kellencatmasterThursday, January 17, 2019 at 8:35 am
                    I hope they make these where I live because this is AWESOME!
                    • BrentleyMonday, December 17, 2018 at 10:18 am
                      This video was so cool