Boyan Slat, the inventor behind the ocean clean-up project, has now invented a new way to combat the global plastic pollution problem.
The invention, dubbed ‘The Interceptor’ is a solar-powered floating device which can scoop discarded plastic from rivers before it reaches the ocean.
The ocean clean-up was nominated for a 2019 Design Prize in the ‘Social Impact’ category for its attempts to clean-up the Pacific Ocean.
The first ocean clean-up device was launched back in September, which has been described as a ‘giant Pac-Man’ system which was used to catch waste.
Rivers are the arteries that carry the trash from land to sea
The Interceptor will be used to collect vessels of plastic in the rivers and then deposit them into floating bins. The device will use interceptors to catch the waste before guiding it towards an opening. The current of the river then moves the waste onto a conveyor belt which then transports the plastic into a shuttle.
The shuttle will then distribute the waste across six separate ‘dumpsters.’ Sensors will also be used to ensure that the dumpsters are filled equally until they are full.
A computer system located onboard the Interceptor will alert local partners to bring a boat to tow away the waste to be recycled.
“To truly rid the oceans of plastic, what we need to do is two things,” Slat said.
“One, we need to clean up the legacy pollution, the stuff that has been accumulating for decades and doesn’t go away by itself. Two, we need to close the tap, which means preventing more plastic from reaching the oceans in the first place. Rivers are the arteries that carry the trash from land to sea.”
Research has shown that rivers are the main source of plastic pollution in the ocean with 80% of pollution coming from just 1% of the world’s rivers. The ocean clean-up project aims to install interceptors in 1000 of the world’s most polluted rivers by 2025, with help from government leaders as well as private corporations.
Two of them have already been installed in Malaysia and Indonesia, with a third one set to be installed in Vietnam and then a fourth in the Dominican Republic. There are also plans in place for Thailand the USA.