BY APB Staff on 5 Apr 2024

The first Interceptor river cleanup solution has been deployed in the Chao Phraya River.

InterceptorTM river cleanup solution © The Ocean Cleanup

The Interceptor river cleanup solution. Image: The Ocean Cleanup

The Ocean Cleanup has deployed its first Interceptor river cleanup solution in the Chao Phraya River, Bangkok — part of a wider partnership to tackle plastic pollution leaking from one the world’s busiest working rivers.

Together with partners The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, The Coca-Cola Company, the Embassy of the Netherlands in Bangkok, Ecomarine, Asimar, and Chulalongkorn University, the project will see Interceptor 019 extract trash while helping us learn more about plastic pollution in Bangkok’s rivers and canals.

Interceptor 019 is part of The Ocean Cleanup’s long-term partnership with The Coca-Cola Company, which began in 2021 and aims to support the deployment of innovative technologies to help prevent plastic from entering the world’s oceans from rivers.

READ: The Ocean Cleanup marks 10-year anniversary

The Chao Phraya is a vital waterway that serves as the lifeblood of the city. As one of Asia’s major rivers, it is a source of livelihood for many local communities and is indispensable to Bangkok’s 11 million inhabitants.

Positioned near the Commemoration of H.M. the King’s 6th Cycle Birthday Park, Interceptor 019 is deployed within a key 16km stretch of the Chao Phraya where 61 canals flow into the river, often transporting plastic trash with them. Studies of the trash collected by Interceptor 019 will help us understand the composition of plastic floating in the river, with a focus on learning how to intercept trash before it reaches the last 50km of the Chao Phraya, where it enters the Gulf of Thailand and is emitted into the ocean.

The Ocean Cleanup

Interceptor 019 is a solar-powered river cleanup solution and is The Ocean Cleanup’s 5th Interceptor across Southeast Asia, joining deployments in Malaysia, Vietnam, and two deployments in Indonesia. Other Interceptors have been deployed under this partnership in Dominican Republic and L.A. The Interceptor deployed in Malaysia in 2021 was sponsored by the British rock group Coldplay. 

“The Ministry’s ultimate vision is to restore and preserve the environment by incorporating natural resources and environmental concerns into the government’s national agenda, as they form the foundation for social and economic development” says Pol. Gen. Patcharawat Wongsuwan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources and Environment. “The partnership to install the Interceptor 019 in the Chao Phraya River will undoubtedly bolster our proactive approach to managing natural resources, protecting the environment, and preserving biological diversity. It will be particularly crucial in addressing Thailand’s complex challenges stemming from plastic waste.”

Chadchart Sittipunt, Bangkok Governor, adds: “We are delighted to support The Ocean Cleanup and all partners in the collection and sorting of trash and plastic bottles retrieved from the Interceptor 019 on the Chao Phraya River. Our aim is to effectively manage all kinds of waste flowing into Bangkok’s busiest river. By reintegrating these valuable plastics into the cycle and segregating other wastes, it thereby helps reduce the need for virgin plastic and mitigating the flow of waste into the ocean.”

Ocean Cleanup

Boyan Slat, founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, says: “Interceptor 019 marks a significant milestone in closing the tap on plastic pollution entering the oceans from Bangkok. This deployment is only the first but an important step, alongside the Bangkok authorities and our other partners, in cleaning up the Chao Phraya. The lessons we learn here about eliminating ocean plastic emissions from major cities will be invaluable for other Interceptor projects around the world as we scale up our Rivers programme.”

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