The Ocean Cleanup project launched by a Dutch youth a decade ago to tackle the Pacific garbage patch has in recent years begun to fix its attention on the plastic from rivers flowing into the sea.
Now they have a little help from the English band whose blockbuster hit was ‘Fix You’.
The rock group, Coldplay, is sponsoring the newest ‘Interceptor’, one of the semi-autonomous water craft developed by The Ocean Cleanup to extract plastic from rivers before it enters the ocean.
The collaboration will widen the net for the nonprofit’s goal of launching an Interceptor in each of the world’s most polluted rivers—in order to “turn off the taps” and catch the plastic along the river’s course, mostly avoiding the much more difficult task of capturing it in the ocean.
“Without action, there could be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050,” said Chris Martin and his bandmates. “We’re proud to sponsor Interceptor 005 which will catch thousands of tons of waste before it reaches the ocean.”
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The first Interceptors, which are solar-powered barges, were launched in 2019 in the Klang River in Kuala Lumpur—which is among the 50 worst rivers for pollution—and the Cengkareng Drain in Jakarta, to extract 220,000 pounds of trash (100,000 kilos) per day.
The third Interceptor to be deployed, is operating in the Rio Ozama in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The barges are internet-connected, allowing teams to gather performance and collection data—and the vessels can automatically notify local operators once the onboard dumpsters are full.
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“I’ve long admired the work of Coldplay. They are doing great things to promote a better environment, and they are world-renowned for these efforts (as well as their music), and the reach of their voice is immense,” said Boyan Slat, the CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, who launched the project while he was still a teen.
Coldplay has agreed to fund the Interceptor nicknamed Neon Moon 1, which is currently being manufactured by The Ocean Cleanup’s partner, Konecranes, in their Malaysia facility, for deployment later in the spring of 2021 in that country.
From the vision of one teen, The Ocean Cleanup has grown to employ almost 100 engineers and researchers, and has plans for its Interceptor solutions to be placed in heavily polluting waterways worldwide, including in Vietnam, the United States, Jamaica, and Thailand.
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Who knows—maybe The Interceptor will also turn into a charity song on Coldplay’s next album.
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