Oslo cleans up its harbour

The Oslo harbour authority is working with SpillTech on a supersized version of the Portbin Photo: SpillTech The Oslo harbour authority is working with SpillTech on a supersized version of the Portbin Photo: SpillTech
Industry Database

Oslo is working hard to clean up its waters and this includes drafting in a portable ROV which can detect potential rubbish hotspots.

Despite the apparently pristine surface of Oslo Harbour, the port’s chief engineer Edvin Kongsten Wibetoe, said that the reason for the ROV is they don't yet know what is under the water.

“I’ve seen newspaper ‘advice’ written in the 50s which said, ‘if you want to get rid of your car, just drive it out onto the ice over a deep spot in the Hornindalsvatnet lake and watch it disappear," he said.

Litter scans

The harbour authority has purchased a small, portable Deeptrekker mini-ROV which gives the harbour authority a fish-eye view of the problems.

The initial scan 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 100m of seabed directly in front of the quay, Mr 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.

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.

Although the Portbin works well, it needs emptying every day and there isn't always the resources for that. Therefore the authority is collaborating with manufacturer Spilltech on a bigger, 1m3 capacity version which should hold a week’s worth of refuse.

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