George Herriots School, Edinburgh

Project: Stemming the Flow

S1 and S2 students undertook a litter survey on the Water of Leith, Edinburgh, close to a busy commercial area.  They used the data gathered to inform them of the variety and size of litter pollution any potential design may have to manage.  They also undertook literature research, using the internet, to identify proven water management systems for inspiration. 

Combining the results of their data, their final concept is a vented-gated system that will stop litter flowing downstream to the sea.  This litter will then be collected by floating AI robots that are also able to identify and collect litter in real-time.  The AI bots are further enhanced by smart technology allowing them to gather information on litter levels in an area, enabling the system to be responsive to changing levels of litter pollution.  Finally, this model aims to protect and ultimately increase biodiversity through education. 

The students applied the scientific method to this problem: Asking a question, carrying out research and collecting data, they have designed an experiment and completed a robust evaluation. They have enjoyed this challenge and wished they had been able to build a prototype in the time they had available.  Through the STEM the flow challenge we have all become more aware of the level and impact of litter in rivers.

Scientific poster

Our aim in this project is to minimise disruption of the ecosystems around and in the water, while maximising the productivity and efficiency of our project to stop, or reduce the amount of plastic in rivers.


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