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Aquatic ‘Seabins’ Are Tracking and Clearing Plastics from Philadelphia’s Rivers

Kimberly Paynter
Seabin’s trash collecting device sucks debris and bottles out of the Schulykill River at a demonstration at Bertram’s Gardens in Philadelphia on June 7, 2022.

Plastic water bottles make up half of all trash floating in Philadelphia’s rivers and streams. Then, there are the “micro-plastics” – tiny pieces we don’t always see. WHYY’s Susan Phillips reports a new pilot project aims to collect and count these pollutants using aquatic trash bins.

(Original air-date: 6/18/22)

Susan Phillips tells stories about the consequences of political decisions on people's every day lives. She has worked as a reporter for WHYY since 2004. Susan's coverage of the 2008 Presidential election resulted in a story on the front page of the New York Times. In 2010 she traveled to Haiti to cover the earthquake. That same year she produced an award-winning series on Pennsylvania's natural gas rush called "The Shale Game." Along with her reporting partner Scott Detrow, she won the 2013 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Journalism Award for her work covering natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania. She has also won several Edward R. Murrow awards for her work with StateImpact. She recently returned from a year at MIT as a Knight Science Journalism Fellow. A graduate of Columbia School of Journalism, she earned her Bachelor's degree in International Relations from George Washington University.