The Ocean Cleanup has collaborated with The Coca-Cola Company to launch its Interceptor trash collection systems in 15 major rivers to tackle plastic pollution.
Alongside Santo Domingo and Dominican Republic, Vietnam’s Can Tho River in the Mekong Delta is one of the first rivers to have solar-powered water-vessel solutions, with additional locations to come.
Under the global partnership, the Interceptor systems will be implemented in 15 rivers by the end of this year. The two organisations also will engage the private and public sectors to help tackle plastic pollution.
The robotic solution, which can extract up to 55 tons of marine trash and debris per day, will become fully operational in Vietnam during the next few months. The move aims to help to intercept plastic debris in primary waterways before it can reach the ocean.
The vice director at the Department of Natural Resources and Environment of Can Tho City, Nguyen Chi Kien, expected the project will help the city improve the capacity and efficiency in waste collection, segregation and treatment.
“We want to support partners and technologies that help to clean up our oceans and rivers, especially the Mekong River system – one of the critical river systems in ASEAN that flows to oceans,” said Leonardo Garcia, GM of Coca-Cola Vietnam and Cambodia.
“Through innovation and partnership, we’re also working to create circular solutions for the collection and recycling of our bottles in Vietnam.”
Unveiled in 2019, the Interceptor is the first scalable solution to collect plastic from rivers. Waste flowing with the river current is guided by a barrier towards the opening of the Interceptor. Thanks to the vessel’s catamaran design, the water flow path is optimised to pass through the system, carrying plastic with the current onto a conveyor belt and delivering the waste to a shuttle that automatically distributes it across six dumpsters before returning to shore for recycling.
Local teams will then work with waste management coalitions to sort and eventually, where possible, turn captured PET plastic bottles into new bottles.
“The Ocean Cleanup’s mission is to rid the oceans of plastic,” said Boyan Slat, founder and CEO, The Ocean Cleanup. “I am happy to see progress and our first steps together with Coca-Cola on the road to tackling the complex plastic pollution problem in the vast Mekong Delta and its sensitive ecosystems. This is good news for the oceans.”
The partnership is part of The Coca-Cola Company’s goal to collect and recycle a bottle or can for every one it sells by 2030 while reducing the use of virgin packaging materials and using only 100-per-cent recyclable packaging materials.
The collaboration follows the launch of Coca-Cola’s PlantBottle last year, the first plant-based bottle for beverages, made from 100 per cent plant-based sources, excluding bottle caps and labels.