Mumbai Calling: The Ocean Cleanup and Bharat Clean Rivers Foundation Join Forces in India

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The Ocean Cleanup has agreed its first partnership in India, teaming up with Bharat Clean Rivers Foundation to collaborate on their campaign to tackle plastic pollution in the nation’s rivers – starting in Mumbai.

Our mission is to rid the oceans of plastic. This requires a dual strategy: cleaning up plastic pollution already floating on the high seas, while stopping the influx of waste leaking into the oceans from rivers.

Our research shows that plastic emissions from rivers are the principal source of ocean plastic pollution, with the most polluting rivers usually located near highly populated coastal cities encountering waste management challenges.

River in Mumbai, India

The fastest and most effective measure to fight ocean plastic pollution is to find scalable ways to intercept in rivers in these cities, preventing this plastic ever reaching the oceans in the first place.

This data-driven and city-focused approach forms a key part of our strategy to eliminate plastic pollution from our planet’s oceans. Intercepting in rivers also helps improve the environment for millions of urban residents and communities depending on clean waterways for their health and livelihoods.


The Ocean Cleanup has been invited by Bharat Clean Rivers Foundation – an Indian Section 8 non-profit organization co-founded by DialESG and West Coast Marine Yacht Services – to help develop scalable new plans to fight plastic pollution in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.

Beach cleanup organization (ViaGreen) in Mumbai
Beach cleanup organization (ViaGreen) in Mumbai

The partnership brings under one roof research and technology prowess, marine execution capability, and a deep understanding of the Indian sustainability ecosystem.

The two organizations signed a Project Facilitation Agreement on 25 January 2024. During this ten-year deal The Ocean Cleanup will apply our expertise in researching and intercepting plastic in rivers to support Bharat Clean Rivers Foundation’s aim of tackling pollution in rivers throughout India while acting as local facilitator, fundraiser, and project manager and executor.


Mumbai is the capital of the state of Maharashtra and one of the most populous metropolitan regions in the world, with over 20 million residents across the wider area.

As with many other comparable coastal cities around the world, this has led to a growing plastic pollution problem, impacting local residents and their environment while increasing plastic emissions into the Indian Ocean.

Plastic pollution along the riverbank in Mumbai, India
Plastic pollution along the riverbank in Mumbai, India

India is a significant source of plastic emissions into the oceans; our peer-reviewed study showed that most of India’s most polluting rivers were located in or around Mumbai.

A plastic crisis of this scale cannot be solved by any one organization – everyone must come together to find a range of complementary solutions to this complex problem. While local and national authorities are working to address issues further upstream, this inevitably requires time. Our oceans, and Mumbai itself, each require action now: it is essential to begin understanding and addressing this environmental crisis immediately.


Our partner Bharat Clean Rivers Foundation aims to bring research, technology, execution and understanding together to bring efficient and easily-scalable solutions to Mumbai’s rivers. Once preparations are complete, The Ocean Cleanup will begin by providing research assistance for studies on rivers across Mumbai to identify sources of waste and pinpoint prospective locations for intervention.

Jamaica Interceptor Deployment Plan
In Kingston, Jamaica, we took a whole city approach, just like we plan to do in Mumbai, India

We have seen through our successful work in the Jamaican capital city of Kingston that river pollution in coastal cities can be solved through a data-based and community-centered approach – with local, regional, and global benefits. Local ownership and operation are key to this city-centric approach, and this will be core to any collaboration in India.

This partnership represents the beginning of a process of fundraising and project initiation in Mumbai, followed by intensive study to understand the nature of the problem – and potentially Interceptor deployment at a later stage and when the nature of the problem, and a potential scalable solution, is better understood.


Our mission is to rid the oceans of plastic. Cutting plastic emissions into the oceans from highly polluting rivers is a critical part of that mission. Bharat Clean Rivers Foundation aims to clean pollution from India’s rivers, starting where impact can be greatest: in Mumbai. These aligned objectives form the basis for this new partnership.

We aim to act with maximum impact, and data shows our potential impact in India with Bharat Clean Rivers Foundation could be significant. The Ocean Cleanup has grown to a world leader in understanding and tackling plastic pollution in oceans and rivers – and it is this expertise we hope to bring to Mumbai.

We are excited to team up with Bharat Clean Rivers Foundation to bring the largest cleanup in history to the most populous nation on Earth. Follow @theoceancleanup on social media and theoceancleanup.com during 2024 to see how our first ever partnership in India develops.