A pop-up emitter is a simple mechanical device, a self-closing drain cover, that allows water to discharge a drain pipe, but disallows large waste material from making it's way back in. When water is not flowing out, since cover remains shut, small animals cannot enter drain pipe, etc..
Most landscape pop-up drain emitters are made of plastic (plastic polymer - polypropylene) and are really quite durable and hold up well to common foot traffic and even light garden/maintenance equipment.
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