Coca-Cola and The Ocean Cleanup join forces to fight plastic pollution

April 28, 2022 | 11:11
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On April 8, the inauguration of the river cleanup system Interceptor 003 on the Can Tho River opened up opportunities for multilateral cooperation to tackle the plastic pollution in Vietnam.

Nguyen Chi Kien, deputy director of Can Tho Department of Natural Resources and Environment said, “At the moment, environmental pollution – especially plastic pollution in rivers – is a global issue. Therefore, it is of great importance to find the best practices to stem the build-up of trash and plastic debris in the rivers and to protect the ocean environment.”

This was the message at the inauguration ceremony of the Can Tho River cleanup system Interceptor 003, implemented in partnership between The Ocean Cleanup and Coca-Cola, in cooperation with the Embassy of the Netherlands in Vietnam, Can Tho Department of Natural Resources and Environment, and Can Tho People’s Committee. The event attracted the participation of more than 100 representatives.

In parallel with the ceremony to handover the solar-powered, semi-autonomous river cleanup system Interceptor 003 to Can Tho Department of Natural Resources and Environment, CEO and founder of The Ocean Cleanup, deputy director Kien, the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, resident representative for the United Nations Development Programme in Vietnam, and general manager of Coca-Cola Vietnam and Cambodia shared their views about the vision of the project and agreed on the long-term multilateral cooperation plan to tackle plastic pollution in the Can Tho and other rivers in the country.

Coca-Cola and The Ocean Cleanup join forces to fight plastic pollution
The panel discussed solutions for fighting plastic pollution in Vietnam's rivers

Emphasising the importance of multilateral cooperation, Daniel Stork, consulate general of the Kingdom of the Netherlands stated, “This joint project between Vietnam and the Netherlands in Can Tho is proof of the commitment of both countries in tackling critical issues such as fighting plastic pollution and technological innovation. We highly appreciate the project in Can Tho as a model to scale up in the future. The Ocean Cleanup intends to focus on cleaning 52 rivers across the entire Southeast Asian region.”

Coca-Cola and The Ocean Cleanup join forces to fight plastic pollution
Daniel Stork emphasising the importance of multilateral cooperation to clean up plastic pollution in rivers around Vietnam

Looking further into the future, all stakeholders agree that solving plastic pollution fully will require joint efforts and more investment from both local and international partners.

The journey towards a World Without Waste

The Can Tho River cleanup project was implemented as a result of the global partnership between the Coca-Cola Company and The Ocean Cleanup with a shared vision for a World Without Waste. Boyan Slat, founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup highlighted the role of technology in tackling plastic pollution in rivers.

“The river cleanup solution Interceptor is a semi-automated system using solar-powered technology and taking advantage of forcing the power of the tide to collect river waste. I hope that this system can be scaled up, cleaning 1,000 rivers over the next decade. Along with increasing community awareness, we can improve the efficiency of plastic pollution collection and treatment in rivers and oceans,” he said.

Coca-Cola and The Ocean Cleanup join forces to fight plastic pollution
The river cleanup system Interceptor 003 has collected up to 10,000kg of waste every month since its deployment in December

The Coca-Cola Company in Vietnam will support research and development for waste-treating solutions after collection and help The Ocean Cleanup to connect with local partners. As part of its World Without Waste vision, Coca-Cola is working to ensure that all of the material it uses in its packaging is collected and recycled so that none of it ends up as waste. Coca-Cola has set a global goal to help collect and recycle every bottle it sells by 2030.

Leonardo Garcia, general manager of Coca-Cola in Vietnam and Cambodia said, “Coca-Cola is a global company with a good Vietnamese heart. As such, we would like to call for the support of every citizen and all businesses and communities in the nation to join Coca-Cola and make this world better. We have the vision to refresh the world and make a difference."

Coca-Cola and The Ocean Cleanup join forces to fight plastic pollution
Garcia sharing Coca-Cola's vision of a World Without Waste

Coca-Cola is helping to support and drive locally relevant collection and recycling solutions. The Plastic Action Network is an initiative by Coca-Cola and The GreenHub that was implemented in 2018. It has brought practical benefits for the improvement of recycling activities across the country.

Coca-Cola Vietnam was also one of the founding members of the Packaging Recycling Organisation Vietnam, a partnership with other leading companies, recyclers, and government agencies to accelerate packaging collection and recycling in support of a cleaner and greener nation.

By Mai Dang

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