Robot sweeps Pinellas County shorelines for small, overlooked litter on beaches

If you head to a Pinellas County beach this month, be on the lookout for a cleaning robot sweeping along the shoreline picking up litter as small as one square centimeter.

BeBot is a machine created to clean, and it's about the size of a golf cart, runs by remote control, and is 100% electric. 

"The robot is designed to sift a very thin layer of sand and remove small pieces of debris," explained Pat DePlasco, executive director of Keep Pinellas Beautiful.

It is the tiny litter often overlooked and left behind, like cigarette butts, bottle caps, food wrappers, or straws. The robot is cleaning up the coast all across Florida, and Tuesday, BeBot hit the sand at Madeira Beach.

For the rest of the month, the robot will be on the Keep Pinellas Beautiful BeBot Beach Tour, making 13 more stops in the county to do demonstrations and comb the sand. All the trash collected by the robot is sorted, a visual reminder to beach goers of what is buried just under the surface.

DePlasco said the device serves as a teaching tool, to educate folks and spread awareness about the damage pollution can do to marine life and our planet. 

"So it's just being mindful and careful about how we dispose of our trash, where we dispose of our trash, and if you see something, just pick it up," said DePlasco.

BeBot will head to another part of the Sunshine State in August, reminding visitors of the importance of a healthy shoreline. The robot was donated to Keep Florida Beautiful by Surfing’s Evolution and Preservation Foundation.