Coldplay Sponsors Machine To Clean Up Malaysia’s Polluted Rivers

Even before Coldplay plays Fix You for the Malaysians in a gig, they first fix our rivers. Coldplay sponsored the Interceptor 005, a personal watercraft designed by the Dutch non-profit organization The Ocean Cleanup, to remove plastic waste from our rivers.

Interceptor 005 called Neon Moon 1 will be deployed in Malaysia, Indonesia, Dominican Republic, Vietnam, United States, Jamaica and Thailand, to name a few countries.

“The system will collect the plastic before it reaches the sea. The Ocean Cleanup plans to deploy these ships in 1,000 rivers around the world, helping to reduce the plastic floating in the oceans by 90% here. 2040, ”Coldplay said on his Instagram.

Prior to this project, Coldplay had already been a constant advocate of green initiatives, from stopping concerts for a while due to the amount of waste and carbon emissions they generated, to creating source tees. ethics to help reforestation, and more.

Now, about the interceptors …

According to Malay Mail, Malaysia is the first to receive Interceptor 005, which is currently under construction and will be completed in mid-2021 to begin operations shortly thereafter.

The founder, Boyan Slat, in an interceptor / Image credit: Boyan Slat’s Twitter

This last interceptor, the Neon Moon 1, is locally built in partnership with Konecranes, a Finnish company, in their MHE-Demag factory in Bukit Raja, Klang and is expected to recover up to 100,000 kg of waste per day, in particular plastics. It costs US $ 770,000 (approximately RM 3,200,062).

Prior to this interceptor, however, Malaysia had Interceptor 002, which was received in August 2019 (also from The Ocean Cleanup) and placed in the Klang River as part of a Selangor Maritime Gateway initiative. It was built at a cost of 700,000 € (approx. 3,405,809 RM) and runs on solar energy, and was able to collect 10,000 kg of waste every day from rivers.

How do they work?

Basically, the waste from the river flowing with the current will be guided by the barrier to the interceptor opening, and this water flow path will carry the plastic over the conveyor belt.

The conveyor belt then transports this waste and throws it through six dumpsters, which will be filled evenly until they reach their maximum capacity.

When the interceptor is nearly full, it will text a local operator to come and empty the dumpsters and send the waste to local waste management facilities and return the barge to the interceptor.

These interceptors from The Ocean Cleanup do not require people to handle dirty or noxious debris from the river, and were also designed for mass production, so that they can be manufactured, assembled and installed more quickly and efficiently. more profitable.

But wait, haven’t we had local river clean-up initiatives?

While help is greatly appreciated in managing the pollution of our rivers, one has to ask why our own government and its local bodies are not doing more? Well we have tried.

Previously we had the River of Life (RoL), a 7-year project that was to be led by the government to transform the Klang River into a vibrant waterfront with high economic value. It covered 8 rivers with a total length of 110 km.

River of Life Goals / Image Credit: Aecom

The project had 3 objectives: to clean the river, to beautify it and to market it for tourism. These objectives were carried out by the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) of Malaysia, DBKL and the Ministry of Federal Territory (KWP) respectively.

It launched in 2012 and ended in 2019 but left a lot to be desired. Critics pointed out the flaws in its beautification efforts as well as the fact that the river was still muddy. The results do not seem to justify the sum of RM 4.4 billion injected into it.

“I was very excited about RoL. It has been touted as the most expensive and ambitious river clean-up project by the international press. But I was sad when I visited the place, ”said Vice President of the Institute of Landscape Architects Malaysia, Dr Nor Atiah Ismail. She was also part of the panel of judges appointed by the government to assess bids for the project in 2011.

“The mist and the fountains were running water and the river was still muddy. There could have been more plants, better water quality and the use of more sustainable materials. ”

In 2018, Indah Water Konsortium launched an ongoing program called Friends of River (FoR) which aims to clean up 21 rivers with the help of neighborhoods, non-governmental organizations, government agencies and education students. superior.

River clean-up activities are still ongoing, but Klang MP Charles Santiago urged the government to go further and create a National River Protection Authority (NRPA), also making it part of the Council. national security.

“We need to think beyond the ‘Friends of the River’ campaign because our rivers continue to be polluted despite ‘clean river’ initiatives for over a decade and a half now,” he said. .

Federal and state agencies for river management remain fragmented, and the NRPA could provide a platform for better coordination between agencies.

The NRPA would also have the power to hold manufacturers accountable for the end-of-life impacts of their plastic products and packaging, indirectly leading to the adoption of more environmentally friendly alternatives.

While these are strategies the government must implement, we cannot forget the role the general public plays in keeping our rivers clean as well. We need to be better informed not only about the situation, but about the actions we can take on a smaller scale to do our part.

Featured Image Credit: Wikimedia and Boyan slat, founder of The Ocean Cleanup

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Jothi Venkat

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