Photo Credit: The Ocean Cleanup

A new vessel is taking the world by storm, it is called the Interceptor, and it can pull 50,000kgs of plastic and other pollutants from rivers around the world.


Global (29 March 2021) – What started as a project to tackle the Great Pacific Garbage Patch will now help address the litter problem in waterways around the world.

The Ocean Cleanup initiative was created in 2013 by a then Dutch teenager, Boyan Slat, to collect plastic from the surface of the ocean without harming marine life. He was inspired to do something after learning about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

The garbage patch was discovered in the ’90s and is a massive island of plastic, rubbish and debris drifting halfway between California and Hawaii. It consists of over a trillion pieces of debris that have collected there because of the swirling vortex of current. The patch is roughly twice the size of Texas.

Boyan dropped out of college and crowdfunded millions of dollars to build a vessel that would be able to remove the plastic litter and other rubbish without putting marine life at risk.

In 2019, The Ocean Cleanup made history for successfully collecting litter from the area. Now with a few years of experience in removing plastic from the ocean, the team are looking to do the same for the world’s most polluted rivers.

Introducing the Interceptor.

The Interceptor is The Ocean Cleanup’s answer for river plastic waste. It is the first scalable solution to prevent plastic from entering the world’s oceans from rivers.

The vessels use solar power, making them energy neutral. There are currently three Interceptors active around the world; they can be found in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Dominican Republic.

The vessel is anchored at the end of a floatation barrier that acts as a guide for pollution. It is then pulled out of the water by a conveyor belt which transports the plastic and other pollution to a collection of dumpsters where it can be collected by operators as regularly as needed. The system notifies operators when the dumpsters are full, and they are then emptied and taken away to be dealt with.

“Alongside our research into the most polluting rivers, we have also conducted research on where to best place Interceptors in the rivers.

The optimal setup is determined on a case-by-case basis, based on flow-velocity, the width of the river, presence of a plastic “hotline”, traffic, proximity to a delta, etcetera.

Working with the government and local operators we will help to determine the best setup that produces the most effective extraction output and the least interference with vessel traffic in the river.

The Interceptors™ will be placed in strategic locations in rivers to make sure the main plastic flow is intercepted, meanwhile allowing for boats to pass.

In the case no natural hotline is present, an upstream barrier can be used to create this effect artificially.”

The vessel has the ability to extract 50,000kgs of plastic and other pollutants in one day. The organisation now aims to fit these vessels in 1000 rivers within the next 5 years!

Coldplay has teamed up with the Interceptor to launch a new Interceptor in Malaysia called the Neon Moon. Take a look below.

Sources: The Ocean Cleanup
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Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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