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Cleaning trash from rivers before it reaches the ocean

posted by Patrick Tanguay   Nov 01, 2019

The Interceptor in Klang, Selangor, Malaysia

The nonprofit The Ocean Cleanup “secretly” developed another idea to clean oceans, The Interceptor which aims to stop trash in rivers, before it even reaches a greater body of water.

[W]hile countries and companies try to make more fundamental changes—like reusable and refillable packaging, single-use packaging bans, and recycling systems that actually work—it’s clear that tackling the problem in rivers is one part of the short-term solution.

When it comes to cleanup, it’s also far more effective to start on beaches and on rivers rather than trying to tackle the problem in the middle of the ocean. The Ocean Conservancy, which conducts beach cleanups, is also beginning work on a river cleanup system in Vietnam.

The Interceptor takes the form of a barrier anchored to the riverbed, which directs trash into the system. It runs on solar power and in just one day it “might extract as much as 50,000 kilograms of trash; depending on the currents, tides, and how much plastic is in a given river.” According to their research, just 1,000 rivers are responsible for over 80% of the trash entering the ocean. The first two Interceptors are already at work in Klang, Selangor, Malaysia and the Cengkareng drain in Jakarta, Indonesia.