The 21st Century Solution To Cleaning Up Our Oceans

A new invention is sweeping out all the plastic from our rivers, and it looks like something out of a Star Trek movie!

Just a few weeks back, The Ocean Cleanup, a non-government engineering environmental organization based in the Netherlands, revealed their solution to all the trash in our oceans.

Based on their research, rivers are the main source of ocean plastic solution as they are the connector that carry waste from land to sea. Over 1000 rivers are responsible for roughly 80% of the pollution and the numbers will continue to grow as new plastics are thrown into our rivers every day.  Hence, their solution – The Interceptor!

the 21st century solution to cleaning up our oceansPhoto: The Ocean Cleanup

As plastic flows down the rivers, they current of the river will push the plastics towards the barrier that will lead to the opening of the Interceptor. In the entrance, there is a conveyor belt that picks up the debris and trash, delivering it to the shuttle that will then distribute them across six dumpsters. Since it is also internet-connected, (how cool is that?) once the dumpsters are full it automatically sends a text message to local operators to come and collect the waste to send them off to local waste management facilities.

the 21st century solution to cleaning up our oceansPhoto: The Ocean Cleanup

The Interceptor can extract 50,000 kilograms (equivalent to almost 10 elephants!) worth of plastic waste per day.

Quoted from their website, “The Interceptor is the first scalable solution to prevent plastic from entering the world’s oceans from rivers. It is 100% solar-powered, extracts plastic autonomously, and is capable of operating in the majority of the world’s most polluting rivers.”

They are currently two Interceptors deployed into the world’s rivers, one in Cangkareng Drain in Jakarta, Indonesia, and one just right in our backyard, the Klang River in Selangor!

the 21st century solution to cleaning up our oceansPhoto: The Ocean Cleanup

Their research found that the Klang River is one of the 50 most polluting rivers worldwide. Boyan Slat, the founder of organization, visited the site of the Interceptor at Klang River and found handbags, helmets and countless garbage bags!

The organization aims to tackle the problem of plastic waste in 1000 polluted rivers all over the world by 2025, with the help of local governments and operators.  

Hopefully with this initiative, Malaysians can be more aware of how we are polluting our rivers and think twice about how we use and throw away our plastics!

By: Siti Farhana Sheikh Yahya