MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Valley State University’s Annis Water Resources Institute showcased its Pixie Drone Wednesday in Muskegon.

It’s an eco-friendly drone that skims the water surface and can collect hundreds of pounds of plastic and debris. The device is also capable of collecting data on the water like temperature, pH levels and dissolved oxygen.

But the main objective here is cleaning up area waterways. A research professor at GVSU said the device is not only good for the environment but also education.

“Its estimated that since the plastic industry began on this planet, back in the 1930s and 40s, over 8.3 billion tons of plastics have been produced and 79% of that has found its way into the natural environment,” said Al Steinman, Allen and Helen Hunting Research Professor at GVSU’s AWRI. “These kinds of devices allow us to clean up some of it. But most importantly, when we do these kinds of operations in the public, it generates educational experiences. People are interested in what we’re doing and they want to know more about it.”

This technology was purchased by the Council of the Great Lakes Region and is being deployed in Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.

AWRI also operates another drone called the BeBot that cleans up beaches. So far, that robot has picked up over 5,600 pieces of litter from West Michigan beaches. Fifty percent of that is made up of small plastic fragments from things like bottles, caps, toys and lids, according to AWRI.