More than 100 representatives from the business community, non-governmental organisations, and governmental agencies gathered on April 8 at The Can Tho River Cleanup's inauguration, aiming to contribute to protecting Vietnam's pristine environment.
This event was held thanks to a partnership between The Ocean Cleanup and The Coca-Cola Company, in coordination with the Embassy of the Netherlands, Can Tho People's Committee and Can Tho Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DoNRE).
The event was opened by Tran Phong, director of the Southern Environment Protection Agency under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE). Phong celebrated the deployment and operation of the solar-powered river cleanup solution, the Interceptor 003, in the Can Tho river and highlighted the key role of technology and collaboration in addressing plastic pollution in rivers and oceans.
Extending the MoNRE’s recognition towards The Can Tho River Cleanup, Duong Tan Hien, Deputy Chairman of Can Tho People’s Committee, expressed his appreciation to The Ocean Cleanup, The Coca-Cola Company, and the DoNRE for making this project possible.
CEO and founder of The Ocean Cleanup, Boyan Slat, also attended the event and shared his aspirational vision and mission to rid the world’s oceans of plastic, including through the interception of trash in rivers before it can reach the ocean.
As a symbolic gesture to celebrate the deployment of the Interceptor, Slat handed over the unit's remote control to DoNRE, which will now be responsible for its ongoing operation.
|Handover of the Interceptor 003's control to Can Tho DoNRE |
“The Ocean Cleanup’s mission is to rid the world’s oceans of plastic, and I am happy to see the first impact of our work in an area as iconic as the Mekong Delta. Launching in the Can Tho River has taken years of commitment and hard work from our local partners and our organisation. Today, we celebrate the important milestone with the fourth project on our global agenda with The Coca-Cola Company. Together, we will continue the rollout to the remaining locations at full speed,” said Slat.
The Interceptor is the first scalable solution to prevent plastic from entering the world’s oceans from rivers. After years of planning, the Interceptor 003 was launched into the Can Tho River in December. The Can Tho Cleanup system, also named René in honour of its designer René Bubberman, has removed an average of close to 10,000kg of debris each month since trial operations began.
|The Interceptor 003 was launched into the Can Tho River in December |
The Can Tho River has been selected as one of 15 river locations around the world to trial and validate the organisation’s technology.
Leonardo Garcia, general manager at Coca-Cola Vietnam and Cambodia said, “We are very proud to stand today as the first global implementation partner of The Ocean Cleanup as we help to mobilise collective action and practical solutions to improve the health of the Mekong Delta.”
Alongside the river cleanup, the partnership is also working with the DoNRE and local operators to conduct river waste research to better understand plastic pollution in the Can Tho River and scale up the project where appropriate.
Phong said, “Looking back at the trial deployment of the Interceptor in the Can Tho River, we can say that, with the efforts of governmental agencies, each citizen, the business sector, and international organisations, we will find effective ways to realise the fight against plastic pollution."
"We believe this project will be efficiently operated. As such, the trash collection will not only happen in the Can Tho River but also be scaled up to other rivers in Vietnam. This is also a journey to industrialise the process of collecting and recycling plastic waste, along with promoting a circular economy for a sustainable green economy in Vietnam,” he added.