Interceptor is already cleaning up rivers in many countries around the world. This is our hope for clean waters

The Ocean Cleanup Foundation has a very ambitious plan to clean up the world’s plastic water bodies. The device is already saving Mother Nature in many countries around the world.

Last year, 1.5 billion protective masks that people used because of the CoVID-19 pandemic ended up in the world’s reservoirs, and it is estimated that there will be even more this year. The only hope for dealing with this situation, besides educational programs, is The Ocean Cleanup Project. The 26-year-old and his team of outstanding engineers have very ambitious plans. Well, in just 5 years he wants to solve the problem of plastic accumulation in as many as 1000 rivers that flow into the seas and oceans. Although only 1 percent of all rivers, they account for as much as 80 percent of the waste floating in the planet’s largest bodies of water.

The plans of The Ocean Cleanup Foundation shouldn’t come as a surprise because so far engineers have started to fight the effect, i.e. they have started to clean up the Pacific Ocean, meanwhile in order to deal with this problem they need to get down to eliminating the cause, i.e. educating people about waste production and trying to protect rivers from it. The problem is that most educational actions are carried out in countries where these problems do not exist. According to data, Europe only generates 1 percent of the pollution that floats in the world’s oceans.

Slate’s new device is called Interceptor. It was unveiled late last year, but is already being tested in Malaysia, the Dominican Republic and India, for example. It is a machine specialized for capturing garbage from rivers. It consists of several barriers and a belt designed to transport the caught garbage to containers. The machine is fully autonomous and uses lithium-ion batteries for its power, which obtains its energy from solar panels.

The Ocean Cleanup reports that the Interceptor is capable of holding 50 cubic meters of trash. Importantly, the device does not block the normal flow of water and will not pose a problem for fishermen or ships. Recent studies show that the largest sources of plastic trash are in Southeast Asia, specifically Vietnam, China and India. There is also a big problem in Africa.

Boyan Slat points out that as much as 2.7 million tons of plastic trash enter the seas and oceans every year. His project aims not only to reduce this practice, but most importantly to clean the world’s bodies of water of already existing plastics. The Dutchman makes no secret of the fact that his mission may take many decades, and this is because there is already so much trash floating in the oceans.

The Interceptor is expected to initially cost about $700,000. This is quite a lot for the governments of poor countries, but this investment may prove to be salutary if we consider the fact that in the future the problem of polluted bodies of water will affect the whole mankind and will consume much more funds. We need to be aware that the trash we throw into rivers today will soon end up in our stomachs along with the food we eat.

The Ocean Cleanup is also making progress on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch cleanup project. Some time ago, the team ran into problems. A system of nylon pipes had disintegrated due to high winds and high waves. Engineers have already modified it so that in the future it will be able to survive the extreme conditions found in open water. Despite the problems, the system itself fulfilled its task and effectively caught plastic waste from the waters of the Pacific Ocean. The treatment plant will be gradually expanded, as scientists want it to be up to 100 kilometers long. In this way it will be easier and faster to catch the trash in the water.

Engineers have made several important changes to the pipe system to improve trash catching. One of the changes is to attach additional huge buoys to the pipes. Their purpose will be to allow the pipe system to move more quickly across the surface of the water and catch more trash. If this proves ineffective, Plan B will be put into effect. It will involve replacing the buoys with parachutes. Modifications have also been made to the pipe connection system. They are now modular, three times smaller and easier to transport to shore.

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