After The Ocean Cleanup, The Famous Dutch Engineer Targets Littered Rivers

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After The Ocean Cleanup, The Famous Dutch Engineer Targets Littered Rivers

Boyan Slat is the young engineer who contributed to the collection of two shipping containers of garbage from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch for the first time ever. The Dutch conservationist is currently targeting the very source of most of that water pollution: rivers.


Slat has already had his oceanic cleanup vessels deployed along the path of crucial ocean currents, leading vast amounts of plastic waste toward his devices before being hoovered up and moved to shore for recycling. He also confirmed they're capturing even microplastics that are one millimeter in size.


At the same time, though, Slat is also tackling a related issue—a facet just as critical to the overall plastic pollution problem: the most littered rivers on Earth.


Slat and his now-famous organization, The Ocean Cleanup, started targeting river pollution after their research revealed that 1,000 of the planet’s rivers are responsible for depositing 80 percent of all the trash that is now swirling in the oceans.


By “turning off the taps” and collecting the plastic waste along the river’s course, the much harder task of capturing it in the ocean can be mostly avoided.



Slat’s latest creation is The Interceptor: an efficient solar-powered barge that gobbles up plastic river garbage.


The Interceptor catches trash by extending a water-permeable barrier halfway across the river. Then, the conveyor belt at the front of the Interceptor scoops the plastic out of the water and deposits it onto a shuttle, which moves across the length of the barge and deposits the trash into one of six dumpsters that can be remotely monitored by an onshore crew.


Once they're full, the dumpsters can be removed by another boat and brought ashore for recycling.


At top performance, the Interceptor can extract 220,000 pounds (100,000 kilograms) of trash daily.


Slat’s goal is to have Interceptors in 1,000 of the worst polluting rivers by 2025.



The Ocean Cleanup will help anyone who wants to lobby their local governments for implementation of the Interceptor in their rivers, which readers can explore by visiting the “Nominate your River” section of the organization’s website, which also describes how you can become an operator, and where the 1,000 worst rivers are in the world.


If you donate $50 to keep the Interceptors and ships operating, you're guaranteed to receive one of the first recycled products, to be announced later in 2020, from the Pacific Garbage Patch.

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Thinking Humanity: After The Ocean Cleanup, The Famous Dutch Engineer Targets Littered Rivers
After The Ocean Cleanup, The Famous Dutch Engineer Targets Littered Rivers
Boyan Slat is the young engineer who contributed to the collection of two shipping containers of garbage from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch for the first time ever.
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