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Bobcat Sand Cleaner Combats Plastic Peril on Beaches

By efficiently removing waste and debris of all sizes on a beautiful and very popular beach in Italy’s Puglia region, the Bobcat SC200 Sand Cleaner attachment has shown it can be a powerful weapon against the threat posed by plastic and other waste in seas and on beaches around the world. The world’s beaches and marine environments are plagued by a wide range of waste items including plastic in all forms from bottles, plastic bags and food containers to micro-particles. In Europe, around 80% of beaches suffer from waste, according to a European Commission report published in 2016.

The Sand Cleaner attachment working in Italy was purchased by Baia degli Aranci, a prestigious Puglia tourist resort in Vieste (Foggia), which includes a large beach spanning over one hectare of fine sand, beside a crystal-clear sea loved by tourists from all around the world.

Able to cover vast areas with a reach of up to 15,000 sqm per hour, the Bobcat Sand Cleaner quickly sieves sand and collects even the smallest waste, such as cigarette butts, bottle caps, pieces of glass, splinters of wood, tins, stones, plastic bags, syringes and algaethe most common type of waste on European beaches. 

The collected waste is then stored in its 350 l integrated collecting bucket and can be directly unloaded onto a truck or into a container thanks to the hydraulic opening system of the bucket and the lift arms of the compact loader on which the attachment is mounted. It is a highly effective sand cleaning tool with a cleaning depth adjustable down to 20 cm, interchangeable sieves with four mesh sizes and a rear blade for optimum finishing.

Italian Resort Provides Model for Global Solution

The way theBaia degli Aranciresort uses the Bobcat Sand Cleaner to keep its beach spotless, quickly removing any type of waste, provides a model for how the attachment can be used on beaches around the world. 

Baia degli Arancipurchased the Sand Cleaner from local Bobcat supplier, F.lli Colucci D&A,together with a Bobcat T650 Compact Track Loader. Highly satisfied, the resort has added other attachments since, such as a root grapple for picking up bulkier items, a fork for preparing and clearing the site, a bucket for sand handling and a mixer bucket for maintenance and building works at the resort. The robust, top-performing Bobcat Compact Track Loader can be combined with an even wider range of attachments and has proved to be an ideal partner in this perfect solution – in terms of both productivity and cost efficiency. 

“When we delivered the machine, various other interested companies came to see it at work,” says Luigi Colucci, owner of F.lli Colucci D&A.“The machine also created considerable curiosity and interest at neighbouring resorts, which were quick to see its potential. We have received several more Bobcat Sand Cleaner orders since and are now finalising those deals.”

Appropriate Equipment is Crucial for Protecting the Environment

Thanks to its great versatility, the Bobcat Sand Cleaner is ideal not just for tourist resorts such as this one in Italy, but also for local authorities around the world, wishing to preserve the legacy of their coastal and riverside beaches. It also helps keep pollution at bay and restores a sound, balanced environment.

As we have seen around the world and as demonstrated in the Natural World films from the BBC in the UK and the 2016 European Commission report, plastic litter accumulating in the sea and on the beaches, is a growing global concern. Millions of tonnes of litter, from plastic bags, bottles, caps, cups and plates to fishing nets, cigarette butts and cotton buds, can be found on beaches every year, not to mention items floating in the sea, such as microplastics, or those deposited on the seabed. This pollution is a threat to all creatures in the marine ecosystem, affecting the entire food chain and that is without counting the impact on tourism.

“Pollution of the beaches and seas is a major concern for the Puglia region in particular, which straddles the Adriatic and the Ionian Sea, with a coastline stretching about 865 km,” states Gregorio Mariggiò, a representative of the Green party in the Puglia Region and spokesman for various regional environmentalist groups. “For protecting the environment, it is crucial to use adequate equipment that does not remove the sand along with the litter and algae.”

Francesca Biagini, Bobcat South Europe Attachments Sales Manager, adds: “Protecting our planet is a shared responsibility, and tools for doing this effectively are in great demand.With products like the Sand Cleaner and our Track Loaders, Bobcat is dedicated to being a socially responsible company, developing tools that help not only the wider industry but also the public sector and the environment.”

How does the sand cleaner work?

The Bobcat sand cleaning attachment has hugely improved the efficiency, effectiveness and quality of the cleaning operations at theBaia degli Aranciresort, without requiring any kind of maintenance. “Jobs are performed more quickly while saving on resources,” comments Mauro Di Palma, co-owner of Baia degli Aranciand head of maintenance. “The machine is very useful for general cleaning at the start of the season, when the sand is full of organic debris carried by the wind and the tides, but also during the season for removing, down to a depth of 20 cm, all of the small litter that tourists leave behind. 

“Thanks to its rubber tracks, we can use our compact track loader both on the beach and on the road with a very low pressure on the surface, actually lower than that arising from a person standing on the same surfaces. The Bobcat T650 also ensures outstanding stability, without the risk of sinking into the sand/ground, and its compact size and excellent manoeuvrability allow us to use it even between the umbrellas on the beach.” 

In the past, cleaning at Baia degli Aranciwas performed by local staff using a small sand cleaning machine with very low performance characteristics. Cleaning reached a depth of just 3 cm and was undone with the first gust of wind. 

Another important benefit of the Bobcat Sand Cleaner is that it is front-mounted, so the operator can monitor the work being performed and the waste accumulating in the bucket. “Our previous machines were towed by tractors, forcing the operator to continuously turn back to check his work,” adds Di Palma. “And the tractor’s wheels would inevitably grind the waste into the ground before the towed tool could reach it.” 

Effective, fast and comfortable beach cleaning

The great ease with which it can be mounted and dismounted was also instrumental in choosing the Bobcat Sand Cleaner attachment. “All Bobcat skid-steer loaders come with the Bob-Tach fast-coupling and quick-change system,” Francesca Biagini points out. 

“Any Bobcat attachment can be quickly and safely attached, ensuring versatility and efficiency without wasting time. Genuine Bobcat attachments also feature our unique ‘Plug & Play’ technology, so multiple data streams can be exchanged using a single electric cable conveniently located in the cab. Attachments are fitted with the Attachment Control Device (ACD), a kind of circuit board, allowing the machine to instantly recognise them and establish communication.”

Operator comfort is another plus. Using the joystick and hydraulic controls, the speed, working depth and discharge system of the attachment can be controlled in real time with utmost accuracy. All this makes the Bobcat Sand Cleaner the ideal tool for cleaning beaches before, during and after the peak season. 

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