The Ocean Cleanup is a nonprofit organisation created by Dutch inventor and entrepreneur Boyan Slat, his mission is to remove plastic pollution from the oceans and rivers of the world. How he intends to do that is with an automated solar-powered floating vessel known as the Interceptor, which will collect floating river debris before it enters the ocean.
Originally the Ocean Cleanup was quite literary trying to clean up the oceans of the world, with its first idea known as System 001 which consist of a 600-meter long floater that creates an artificial coastline in a U-shape similar to a funnel, that can then be moved or toed by boat. System 001 was designed to funnel debris from the ocean using natural oceanic forces (wind, waves and currents), it also allowed for fish and ocean life to easily avoid the floater and not be captured.
The idea was successful but was met with the challenge that no matter how many floaters you place in the world’s oceans there is still more plastic pollution entering from the rivers. That’s when the Ocean Cleanup changed its approach and started targeting rivers specifically rivers known to have some of the most plastic pollution. The vessel used in this new approach is the interceptor.
The Ocean Cleanup believes that the interceptor river clean-up is their first scalable solution to plastic pollution. It consists of a solar power vessel, which is tied down on the river’s edge which forms a barrier that then leads into the interceptor’s mouth. Debris floating in the river flows into the interceptor system where a conveyer belt distributes into a dumpster on the vessel. The interceptor can then be emptied by a waste removal barge which brings all the waste back to shore for sorting and processing.
The interceptor can collect almost 100,000 Kg of waste per day, the Ocean Cleanup wants to work with the world’s governments to place multiple interceptors at all the major rivers-ocean points. They aim to have interceptors place in 1000 of the world most polluting rivers in 5 years’ time. So far they have 3 interceptors in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Dominican Republic. A fourth interceptor is also ready to be placed in Vietnam early next year.
The Ocean Cleanup has also created another venture as a result of their mission, which is to use the plastic collected to create new products from recycled debris. Their first product is sunglasses, as a non-profit organisation, all proceeds made from the sale of the sunglasses will be used into the continued development and cleanup operations.