Every year, 11 billion kilograms of plastic pollution ends up in the ocean. A big part of this pollution flows into our oceans via rivers. Our goal is to remove the plastic before it ever arrives.
The presence of plastic in the environment can have grave consequences for ecosystems. Wildlife can become entangled in and immobilised by larger pieces, while smaller pieces may be mistaken as food by birds and aquatic animals like dolphins, turtles and fish.
The result: severe health issues leading to the pain, suffering and often death of the afflicted animals.
Rivers are the blue arteries of our planet. However, many of the world’s rivers and streams are severely affected by pollution, with plastic being one of the major culprits. To limit the amount of plastic pollution beyond the reach of collection and recycling that enters our oceans, we must remove it before it gets there.
We believe that educating people, transforming companies, and actively cleaning our rivers are the most effective ways to stop plastic pollution from entering our environment.
The River Cleanup solution
Focus on 3 pillars
This one speaks for itself. We have a global network of volunteers with “blue hearts” who actively contribute to making our planet a better place by organising or participating in river cleanup initiatives. We believe in the power of people to end the plastic pollution problem. To collect plastic trash in a more automated way, we also deploy technologies that enable river cleaning around the clock.
Removing plastic trash from the environment alone is not enough. To stop plastics from ever entering ecosystems, it’s necessary to generate awareness of the problem. We organise workshops and lectures for people of all ages to increase their understanding of the plastic pollution situation. With awareness comes action.
Profound and structural change can only be realised with a multi-level, inclusive approach. We partner up with many types of organisations and companies that share our values. As change happens from within, we organise workshops and roll out change programs for companies interested in reducing their environmental impacts.
Have you heard of the term ‘trash blindness’? It expresses our inability to see or acknowledge the plastic pollution problem. We either don’t pay attention to it, or we think it’s a distant issue with no impacts on our lives. Trash-blind people consider it too distant to do something about.
We disagree. The plastic pollution problem eventually and absolutely affects us all in one way or another. To share this knowledge and get people on board to do something about it, we need to generate awareness of the problem.
To reach our goal of preventing 11 billion kilograms of plastic from reaching the ocean, we have to collect a lot of plastic! The best way to do this is to focus on the most polluted places in the world. We are currently focussing our clean-up efforts on three locations on three continents:
Citarum River, Indonesia
The Citarum River funnels a staggering 730 million kilograms of plastic into the ocean every year, and many people in the region are dependent on the river for their daily activities. Our interventions focus on preventing waste from entering the rivers and making sure the plastic is recycled.
Ishem River, Albania
Every year, over 700 000 kilograms of plastic pollution ends up in the Adriatic and Mediterranean Seas via the Ishem River. Our objective is to clean the river from source to mouth by involving people, companies and governments. We want to generate awareness and make people part of the solution, and an amazing group of people is already active in the region.
Wouri River, Cameroon
In 2020, we came into contact with a Belgian initiative called Namé Recycling, which is active along the Wouri River in Cameroon. Every year, almost 3 million kilograms of plastic flows from the Wouri River into the ocean. We teamed up with Namé Recycling to not only collect the plastic, but also to recycle and process it into pellets that can be sold and made into new products.
3 ways you can help
With your help, we can increase our impact, install more cleaning equipment and reach more people. We are truly grateful for your support.
Looking for a way to involve your company in making our planet a healthier place? We are always looking for partners to help us achieve our common goals.
Participate or organise
Do you want to take a more hands-on approach to helping us? Attend one of our cleanups or organise your own.