Kuala Lumpur-Scavenging plastic from rivers in Malaysia before polluting the ocean is the task of the “Interceptor” since a few years ago. The solar-powered river purifier was designed and developed by a Dutch NGO, Ocean CleanUp, and is now operating in a number of countries, including Indonesia.
The 24-meter long boat sucks plastic waste through the “mouth” found in the bow. Besides being able to accommodate up to 50 tons of garbage per day, the Interceptor also operates autonomously and minimizes noise pollution.
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Since last October one of the rides made by Ocean CleanUp has been placed in the heavily polluted Klang river. “The river is like a floating landfill,” said Syaiful Azmen Nordin, Director of Landasan Lumayan, Ocean CleanUp’s business partner in Malaysia. “The ship cannot pass because there is a lot of plastic. Now you can see the condition of the river which is free from floating garbage.”
The Dutch NGO has actually been actively engaging the government and local businesses to clean up the Klang River since 2016. The Klang River, which crosses the capital Kuala Lumpur, annually flows 15,000 tons of waste into the sea. That way Klang is among the 50 most polluted rivers on Earth.
“We know the goal of clearing 1,000 rivers is very ambitious, but also very important,” Ocean CleanUp spokesman Joost Dubois said. To realize this ambition, the company made four interceptor vehicles with prices reaching 770,000 Euros per unit.
Besides Kuala Lumpur, the Interceptor has also been deployed in Jakarta, Bangkok, and later in Los Angeles.
In the Klang River which stretches for 120 km, the existence of the Interceptor completes seven water gates built among others to prevent garbage. The collected plastic waste is then sent to a landfill. Later Ocean CleanUp hopes to be able to recycle panned plastic.
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According to Syaiful, his party has so far cleared 50,000 tons of garbage from the Klang river since starting the project four years ago. “We collect tires, dolls, and even corpses of animals. But generally plastic,” he said. But the existence of the Interceptor will be useless if the community does not help.
“Some people cannot see the effects of littering. They throw plastic on the road and end up in the river,” he added. “If we change our own behavior, we can help clean up our rivers.”