A Dutch inventor is cleaning the world's most polluted rivers in an effort to save the oceans. This is one of the most inspiring individual efforts to deliver a practical solution to help save the planet that OGN has encountered.
Boyan Slat's mission is to remove plastic from the oceans. His organization, The Ocean Cleanup, has successfully started to clean the pollution that has been circling in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. But millions more tons of plastic enter the oceans every year, almost all of it flowing from rivers. And this is the key to Slat's strategic solution.
10 rivers are responsible for around 90% of all that plastic, according to a study from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research. "So if we focus on the worst rivers, we believe we can really have the fastest and most cost-effective way to close the tap and prevent more plastic from reaching the oceans in the first place," Slat told CNN.
The Ocean Cleanup is deploying floating trash collectors called "Interceptors." These solar-powered, autonomous systems use the rivers' currents to guide the trash onto a conveyor belts that carry the waste to awaiting bins. The first interceptor went to work in Jakarta, Indonesia, to pull plastic from a waterway called the Cengkareng drain. A second interceptor is collecting trash flowing down the Klang river in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. On the other side of the world, another Interceptor recently started removing river pollution near the mouth of the Rio Ozama in the Dominican Republic. "By stopping plastic in rivers, we hope to not only address the big global plastic pollution issue, but also really help make life better for the people that live near these problematic rivers," said Slat.
The Ocean Cleanup's goal is to tackle the thousand most polluted rivers within 5 years. Slat told CNN that Interceptors will soon head to Vietnam, Thailand, Jamaica and Los Angeles County in the United States.
"We are getting out tons of plastic every single day," Slat said. "We accept that we won't deliver magic in one go. But we're doing this, step by step." Respect!