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June 14, 2024

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2021/3/3 Plastics


Original article


By Suzanne Forcese

“The oceans are being flooded with plastics, most of it flowing in through rivers, affecting our ecosystems making its way into the food chain and potentially even our own bodies. Plastic is persistent. It doesn’t go away by itself. In fact, by breaking down into microplastics, the plastic becomes more harmful the longer it stays in the ocean.” - Boyen Slat CEO of The Ocean Cleanup

Since its design and construction in 2019, Interceptor 004, has been on a journey to extract waste from one of the dirtiest rivers in the world.

After many challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, tropical storms, and water hyacinths, Interceptor 004 is successfully cleaning plastic in the Rio Ozama in the Dominican Republic.

With behind-the-scenes footage and exclusive interview, with the teams persevering for its success, you can witness why the Interceptor is crucial to The Ocean Cleanup’s mission to rid the world’s oceans of plastic. See youtube video

“This Interceptor is much more than what it technically does, which is picking up trash from the river. It’s about educating these kids and creating a better waste management structure, and inspiring people,” - Erik Holmbom, Interceptor 004 Project Manager

What actually happens to all that garbage once it is pulled from the river and ocean?

The Ocean CleanUp Team is constantly working on solutions.

One of the solutions that Boyan Slat revealed in October 2020 was turning plastic pulled out of the ocean into designer sunglasses.

A few unique features of the sunglasses (certified by DNV GL to be made from plastic pulled from the ocean) lie in a tiny code inside the frame. By holding a cell phone to the code a site pops up which reveals the footage of the actual plastic-- in that particular pair of sunglasses-- being taken up from the ocean.

Slat adds that it is important that these glasses not end up back in the ocean so another feature was in making the design as valuable as possible. And if the glasses are lost—there’s a code for that too inside the frame that takes one to the lost and found department which will return the glasses to the owner.

And should the owner of the glasses decide for some reason that they want to not own the glasses any longer there is a solution for that as well. They can be taken apart and recycled.

“We made them hard to get rid of,” Slat says. “We want to set an example of how plastic can be used responsibly.”


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