River – and ocean – cleanup

Just 10 rivers are responsible for around 90% of all that plastic, according to a 2017 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,” said Dutch inventor Boyan Siat.

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.

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.