The Ocean Cleanup unveils The Interceptor to tackle most polluted rivers

Young Dutch inventor Boyan Slat right unveils the Interceptor in Rotterdam Netherlands

Enlarge Image Young Dutch inventor Boyan Slat right unveils the Interceptor in Rotterdam Netherlands. AP

On Saturday, in Rotterdam, he unveiled the next step in his fight: A floating solar-powered device he calls the Interceptor, which scoops plastic out of rivers as it drifts past.

Since most marine plastic comes from rivers, the vessel could help address the waste problem before it reaches an ocean garbage patch. The Ocean Cleanup expects to expand its activities "within Jakarta and within the rest of Indonesia", and to deploy more clean-up systems "throughout" Malaysia. It removes plastic out of rivers.

Earlier this month, The Ocean Cleanup announced that a special ship created to clean the world's oceans had harvested its first plastic from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Another unit is to be installed shortly in Can Tho in the Mekong Delta in South Vietnam, while the fourth is planned for Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Izham Hashim, from the government of Selangor state in Malaysia, was present at Slat's device unveiling, and said he was happy with the machine. Slat explained, "Deploying Interceptors is even cheaper than deploying nothing at all". "It's been used for one and a half months in the river and it's doing very well, collecting the plastic bottles and all the rubbish", he said.

Danone revealed today (28 October) that it has been working with The Ocean Cleanup Project for the past two years, supporting its mission to research and develop a scalable technology capable of capturing plastic of all sizes from rivers and waterways. He wants to tackle them all in the next five years.

"To truly rid the oceans of plastic, what we need to do is two things".

The vessel is created to be moored in rivers and has a shaped nose to deflect away larger floating debris like tree trunks. The operators can then dispatch a boat to tow the barge (and the plastic waste) to shore. When capacity is nearly full, the Interceptor automatically sends a text message alert to local operators to remove the barge and empty the dumpsters. In addition to these locations, Thailand has signed up to deploy an Interceptor™ near Bangkok, and further agreements are nearing completion, including one in LA County (USA), kick-starting the scale-up.

The machines now cost €700,000, but Slat says the cost will drop as production increases.

He told the AP, "I am really happy they finally moved toward the source of the litter". He added that he believes the economic impact of not picking plastic out of rivers is higher than the cost of buying and using the machines. "As well as supplying marine coatings with a proven track record, our experts were also involved in the design of the Interceptor devices, so we're excited to see them deployed in rivers around the world".

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