The Ocean Cleanup Launches Interceptor 019 Against River Plastic

The Ocean Cleanup Launches Interceptor 019 Against River Plastic

The Ocean Cleanup’s innovative river cleanup project with partners, including Coca-Cola®, deploys in Bangkok, part of a wider research partnership to tackle plastic pollution in one of the world’s busiest working rivers.

Marine waste, spurred by improper disposal, severely impacts marine ecosystems. Addressing this urgent issue requires a comprehensive and multi-sectoral approach that includes prioritising waste management strategies to prevent ocean-bound waste and performing regular cleanups.

This rationale underpins the initiative by The Ocean Cleanup, a Dutch non-profit environmental engineering organisation led by Mr. Boyan Slat, its CEO and founder. On 26 March 2024, in Bangkok, Thailand, The Ocean Cleanup, in collaboration with its first global implementation partner, The Coca-Cola Company, and various local partners, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), Marine Department, Expressway Authority of Thailand (EXAT), the Embassy of the Netherlands in Thailand,

Ecomarine Company Limited, Asian Marine Services Public Company Limited, and Chulalongkorn University, officially deployed the InterceptorTM 019. This solar-powered and fully automated waste capturing device was unveiled on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, marking a significant step forward in Thailand and the region. InterceptorTM 019’s deployment aims to remove waste from the Chao Phraya River and study plastic pollution in Bangkok’s waterways, seeking solutions for marine pollution and waste management in Thailand.

Pol. Gen. Patcharawat Wongsuwan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, stated, “The ministry is committed to incorporating environmental concerns into the national agenda for sustainable development. Initiatives like the installation of InterceptorTM 019 in the Chao Phraya River are crucial in managing natural resources, protecting the environment, and addressing Thailand’s plastic waste challenges.”

H.E. Mr. Remco Johannes van Wijngaarden, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Thailand, commented, “This is a significant milestone. The sea is still full of plastics, and much remains to be done. The Embassy of the Netherlands is pleased to collaborate with organisations such as The Ocean Cleanup and Coca-Cola®. Through collective action and innovation, we can best tackle the challenge of marine plastic pollution.

Mr. Chadchart Sittipunt, Bangkok Governor, remarked, “The whole world is connected by waterways. The deployment of InterceptorTM 019 signifies a major step toward cooperation and serves as a poignant reminder to protect our planet more diligently, recognising that every piece of trash has an owner and prompting a change in people’s behaviour towards greater environmental consciousness.”

Mr. Boyan Slat, Founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, stated, “A significant portion of marine debris originates from land-based sources, making its way into canals, rivers, and ultimately the oceans. It is estimated that approximately 1,000 rivers account for 80% of oceanic plastic pollution. To combat this, it is vital to clean up existing debris and prevent new plastic from entering the oceans. Deploying the InterceptorTM 019 represents a crucial step towards mitigating plastic pollution in Bangkok’s waters. Through collaboration with governments and the private sector, our goal is to address the top 1,000 polluting rivers worldwide by 2025.”

“This deployment is just the beginning in partnership with Bangkok authorities and our other collaborators,” emphasised the CEO of The Ocean Cleanup.

Mr. Victor Wong, Vice President and General Manager of Coca-Cola Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos, remarked, “We care about the impact of every package we put into the market. As part of our ‘World Without Waste’ vision, The Coca-Cola Company is working globally to ensure the equivalent of every bottle and can we sell is collected and recycled by 2030. The partnership that we’ve fostered with The Ocean Cleanup over the past two years has reached a milestone moment in Thailand with the implementation of the innovative Interceptor technology in Bangkok’s renowned Chao Phraya River. The insights gained from our collaboration in Bangkok will help inform the roll-out of this technology in countries around the world. We are happy to be providing our support as we test and learn.”

The InterceptorTM 019 is the fifth installation in Southeast Asia by The Ocean Cleanup, following installations in Malaysia, Vietnam, and Indonesia. In collaboration with Coca-Cola®, The Ocean Cleanup has also installed Interceptors in Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, and Los Angeles, USA.

Situated near the Commemoration of H.M. the King’s 6th Cycle Birthday Park, on Rama 3 Road, Bangkok, the InterceptorTM 019 is strategically placed within a key 16-kilometre stretch of the Chao Phraya River. This area, where 61 canals converge, often carries plastic debris into the river.

The data collected by InterceptorTM 019 will be analysed to identify the types of plastic waste in the Chao Phraya River and to develop long-term solutions for marine pollution. Additionally, methods for extracting and capturing plastic waste floating on the water’s surface will be explored to prevent it from reaching the final 50-kilometre stretch of the Chao Phraya River, which flows into the Gulf of Thailand and the ocean beyond.

Designed for mass production and rapid deployment in the world’s most polluted rivers, the InterceptorTM 019, measuring 22.39 metres in length, 8.78 metres in width, and 5.58 metres in height, utilises solar energy for fully automated waste capture. This innovative machine is equipped with a conveyor belt, shuttle, lights, six dumpster bins, sensors, data transmission, and solar panels.

As debris flows with the river’s current into the Interceptor, it collects performance data and alerts operators when the dumpsters are full. Its large storage capacity ensures efficient waste removal, allowing for the filling of entire garbage trucks in one go. Each Interceptor can collect between 50,000 to 100,000 pieces of debris daily.

Following an invitation by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in 2019, discussions led to the successful deployment of InterceptorTM 019 on the Chao Phraya River in 2024, in cooperation with the BMA. A five-year contract with Thailand has been initiated, with potential for extension.

The Chao Phraya River, a vital watercourse for the city, sustains the livelihoods of numerous communities and is crucial for the 11 million residents of Bangkok.

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