80% of river plastic
stems from
1000 rivers

Rivers are the main source of ocean plastic pollution. They are the arteries that carry waste from land to the ocean. Our research found that 1000 rivers are responsible for roughly 80% of riverine pollution.

We aim to tackle plastic in 1000 rivers in 5 years

To rid the oceans of plastic, we need to not only clean up what is already out there, but also stop new plastic from entering the ocean: we need to close the tap. Working together with government leaders, individuals, and private corporations, our goal is to tackle these 1000 most polluting rivers all over the world, in five years from rollout.

The Interceptor

The Interceptor is The Ocean Cleanup’s answer for river plastic waste. It is the first scalable solution to prevent plastic from entering the world’s oceans from rivers.

It is 100% solar-powered, extracts plastic autonomously, and is capable of operating in the majority of the world’s most polluting rivers.

Conveyor belt in the Interceptor™
The Interceptor - our cleanup technology to intercept plastic en route to the ocean
Interceptor 002 in Klang River, Malaysia
Interceptor™ 002 in Klang River, Malaysia
Interceptor 002 in Klang River, Malaysia
Placement of Interceptor™, allowing vessels to pass

How it works

  1. 1Barrier

  2. 2Conveyor belt

  3. 3Shuttle

  4. 4Dumpsters

  5. 5Empty and recycle

  • Scalable

    The Interceptor has been designed for mass production and can be applied virtually anywhere in the world.

  • Energy neutral

    The debris enters the Interceptor with the natural current of the river. All electronics on the Interceptor, including the conveyor belt, shuttle, lights, sensors, data transmission, are solar-powered.

  • Connected

    The Interceptors are internet-connected, allowing us to gather continuous performance and collection data. It also enables the Interceptor™ to automatically notify local operators once the dumpsters are full.

Placement in rivers

Alongside our research into the most polluting rivers, we have also conducted research on where to best place Interceptors in the rivers.

The optimal setup is determined on a case-by-case basis, based on flow-velocity, the width of the river, presence of a plastic , traffic, proximity to a delta, etcetera.

Working with the government and local operators we will help to determine the best setup that produces the most effective extraction output and the least interference with vessel traffic in the river.

The Interceptors™ will be placed in strategic locations in rivers to make sure the main plastic flow is intercepted, meanwhile allowing for boats to pass.
In the case no natural hotline is present, an upstream barrier can be used to create this effect artificially.
  • 50,000 kg/day

    Under optimal operations, the Interceptor can extract 50,000 kilograms of plastic per day.

  • 24/7 operation

    The Interceptor can work autonomously until it’s full and can continue extracting debris even when the dumpsters are being emptied.

  • 50 m3 capacity

    Its large storage capacity allows for efficient emptying cycles, filling entire garbage trucks at once.


We currently have three Interceptors deployed and are working with governments all over the world to deploy in more rivers.

Cengkareng Drain

Jakarta, Indonesia

The very first Interceptor, our prototype, is currently deployed in the Cengkareng Drain in Jakarta. The Ocean Cleanup met with members of the government of Indonesia for the first time in 2016. Jakarta was chosen as the starting place since DKI Jakarta already conducted cleanup operations in rivers here.

We are looking forward to expanding the cooperation within Jakarta and within the rest of Indonesia in the future.

Interceptor 001, first generation, in Jakarta, Indonesia
Interceptor 001, first generation, in Jakarta, Indonesia

Klang River

Klang, Selangor, Malaysia

The Klang River runs through Kuala Lumpur. According to our research, the Klang River is one of the 50 most polluting rivers worldwide.

In 2016, Landasan Lumayan Sdn. Bhd. (LLSB) implemented the Selangor Maritime Gateway initiative, aimed at rejuvenating the Klang River. Therefore, together with the local government, the Interceptor was a welcome addition to their own cleanup efforts, using barriers in the river to stop the plastic flow to the ocean. The Interceptor helps to improve the cleanup efficiency, making for quicker and more scalable cleanup. The intention is to deploy more cleanup systems throughout Malaysia.

Interceptor 002, Klang River, Malaysia
Interceptor 002, Klang River, Malaysia

Rio Ozama

Rio Ozama, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Interceptor 004 was built in the Netherlands so we could efficiently test the design near HQ; it is also the same system used to unveil our river technology to the world in October 2019. Its intended destination was much further away in the Dominican Republic’s Rio Ozama.

The Ministry of the Presidency of the Dominican Republic (including the prime minister himself), the UNDP, and the Embassy of the Netherlands facilitated arrangements for the Interceptor to receive all necessary support. Despite setbacks due to COVID-19, the Interceptor was installed in August of 2020 and is operated by the Dominican Navy.

Interceptor 004 in the Rio Ozama, Dominican Republic, summer 2020
Interceptor 004 in the Rio Ozama, Dominican Republic, summer 2020

Help us tackle 1000 rivers in 5 years

We see ourselves as the architects for river projects to stop the inflow of plastic into the oceans. The Ocean Cleanup brings in the knowledge (where and how to intercept riverine plastic), provides solutions (e.g. the Interceptor), and uses its network to raise awareness and help attract funding and financing.

Given the scale and the urgency of the issue, we need partners to reach the goal of tackling plastic in the 1000 most polluting rivers in 5 years from rollout.

  • Execute

    Local partners operate the Interceptors™ to extract the waste from the river and bring this to land. They work together with responsible waste handlers to sort debris and recycle plastic where possible.

  • Initiate

    Governments and river owners
    Operators need support from (local) governments for permits to operate in their rivers. Collection fees from governments and cities help safeguard continuity in waste extraction by the operators.

  • Accelerate

    Funders and sponsors
    Funders, sponsors, and investors make river cleanups possible and accelerate the deployment of Interceptors™. With your help, we build consortia to clean rivers where most necessary.

The 1000 top polluting rivers

In order to reach our mission of tackling 1000 rivers, we need help from individuals all over the world in spreading the message of the top polluting rivers and the solution we aim to bring.

The price tag of plastic pollution

According to a study conducted in collaboration with Deloitte, yearly economic costs due to marine plastic are estimated to be between $6-19bn USD. The costs stem from its impact on tourism, fisheries and aquaculture, and (governmental) cleanups. These costs do not include the impact on human health and the marine ecosystem (due to insufficient research available). This means that intercepting plastic in rivers is much more cost-effective than dealing with the consequences downstream.

The Interceptor unveil

On October 26th, 2019, Boyan Slat presented the interceptor to the world, in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. In this presentation, he explained the research behind the finding the most polluting rivers, how the Interceptor works, as well as the next steps.

Rewatch Boyan Slat unveil the interceptor