Around 8.8 million tons of plastic enter the world’s oceans each year — the equivalent of a truckload of garbage every minute. Over time, this trash can accumulate in offshore garbage patches and linger there for decades.
For the last six years, a nonprofit called The Ocean Cleanup has been developing a system to passively collect plastic from the garbage patch using the ocean’s current. The product of those efforts — a floating, U-shaped device that traps plastic in its fold like a giant arm — has finally been working as planned for the last month.
But cleaning up the oceans is not enough. Ocean Cleanup wants to stop the plastics from entering the oceans in the first place.
Enter The Interceptor. It’s essentially a catamaran that glides across the surface of rivers, channeling plastic toward a conveyor belt. The trash then gets deposited into attached dumpsters.
According to The Ocean Cleanup, each Interceptor can extract 50,000 kilograms of trash from a river each day
The Ocean Cleanup aims to install Interceptors in 1,000 of the world’s most polluted rivers within five years.
According to their research, which includes an interactive map, 80 percent of the rubbish in the oceans comes from just 1 percent of the world’s rivers.
Boyan Slat founded The Ocean Cleanup as a teenager, after giving a TEDx talk about his idea to clean up the oceans from plastics.