Research published in Environmental Science & Technology in 2017, shows that rivers collectively dump anywhere from 0.47 million to 2.75 million metric tons of plastic into the seas every year. According to that data, 10 rivers alone carry 93% of river-born waste that ends up in the ocean. To help prevent this major source of plastic waste from reaching the ocean, the Alliance to End Plastic Waste will sponsor Renew Oceans, a localized investment and engagement project focused on high leakage rivers. As a Founding Global Oceans Sponsor, the Alliance will contribute its materials and logistics capabilities. The National Geographic Society has also supported the Renew Oceans initiative.
Renew Oceans uses proprietary biofence technology, designed by Renewlogy, to collect plastic flowing down rivers and tributaries, diverting it from accumulating and entering the ocean. The first Renew Oceans project will focus on the Ganges River, known locally as Ganga. It is the third longest and one of the most important rivers in the world. 1.2 billion pounds of plastic waste is also dumped into it each year. As the predominant river system of India, the Ganga (Ganges River) is a vital resource to its neighboring communities. Given its importance, Renew Oceans’ approach also engages local communities in the effort and creates economic opportunity for individuals who collect plastic from rivers, often among the most economically disadvantaged members of the community.
Renew Oceans will begin its work on the Ganga (Ganges River) in 2019 in India. Over time, Renew Oceans intends to expand its focus to all of the 10 major rivers shown to carry the vast majority of land-based waste to the ocean. The Alliance’s collaboration with Renew Oceans is an example of how we can work together with innovators to test and expand targeted strategies to help end plastic waste in the environment.
The Renew Oceans project looks to prioritize cleaning up these ten major rivers, starting with the Ganga (Ganges River), and support other localized projects that engage surrounding communities. This partnership will leverage both new technology and innovative research initiatives to promote consumer education and engagement with audiences around the world.