The “Interceptor” Promises Cleaner Rivers and Plastic-Free Oceans

Image by: The Ocean Cleanup

Did you know that over 80% of ocean plastic ends up there from 1,000 rivers? Rivers pass through the land where polluting human activity takes place, and inevitably, carry waste to the sea. While the cleaning of the oceans remains crucially important, stopping the problem at its root is even more urgent.

Meet the “Interceptor”, one of the few, if not the only truly scalable solution for river garbage collecting operations. It is a floating debris collector that positions itself strategically downstream of a river and uses a barrier to direct waste to the insertion conveyor belt. From there, the water is permitted to pass down to the river again and the waste ends up in one of the six dumpsters.

The computer that controls the Interceptor allocates the waste evenly on the dumpsters to achieve buoyant stability and continues the operation automatically, 24/7. The dashboard can be accessed remotely for status checks, but in general, the Interceptor will send an alert when it’s facing a problem or when all bins are full and need emptying. The emptying involves a tugboat that takes the interceptor on the edge, and from the side, a crane takes out the dumpsters and empties them on a recycling truck.

The maximum collecting performance is 100 tonnes (100,000 kilograms) of trash per day, which is an impressive figure. The team behind the development of the Interceptor believes that if governments show the needed engagement and devotion, we could start seeing a huge difference in plastic pollution worldwide in just five years.

The best part is that the traffic on the rivers where the Interceptor is deployed isn’t affected by much, as the garbage-collecting tool is placed on the spot where most of the garbage flows through. It’s what the Interceptor operators call the “plastic hotline”. Thus, the remaining width of the river is left to serve other boats, and so the impact is minimal.

Bianca Van der Watt

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