More than 100 representatives from the business sector, the NGO community and local and central Government gathered on April 8, 2022 at the Can Tho River Cleanup Inauguration event.
This event was held thanks to a partnership between The Ocean Cleanup and The Coca-Cola Company, in coordination with the Kingdom of Netherlands Embassy, the People’s Committee and the Department of Natural Resources and Environment of Can Tho City (DoNRE).
At the event, Representative from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Vietnam (MoNRE), Mr. Tran Phong – Director of Southern Environment Protection Agency – celebrated the deployment and operation of the solar-powered river cleanup solution – the Interceptor™ 003 – in the Can Tho River and highlighted the key role of technology and collaboration in addressing plastic pollution in our rivers and oceans.
Given the MoNRE’s recognition towards the Can Tho River cleanup project, Mr. Duong Tan Hien, Vice Chairman of Can Tho City People’s committee, expressed appreciation to The Ocean Cleanup, The Coca-Cola Company, and the Department of Natural Resources and Environment for making this project possible, which will benefit local communities and help clean the river at the heart of Can Tho City via Interceptor™ 003.
CEO and Founder of the Ocean Cleanup, Mr. Boyan Slat, also attended the event and shared his aspirational vision and mission to rid the world’s oceans of plastic, including through the interception of trash in rivers before it can reach the ocean. As a symbolic gesture to celebrate the deployment of Interceptor™ 003, Mr. Slat handed over the Interceptor™’s remote control to the Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DoNRE), who will now be responsible for its ongoing operation.
“The Ocean Cleanup’s mission is to rid the world’s oceans of plastic, and I am happy to see the first impact of our work in an area as iconic as the Mekong Delta. Launching in the Can Tho River has taken years of commitment and hard work from our local partners and our organization. Today we celebrate this important milestone with the fourth project on our 15-river global implementation agenda with The Coca-Cola Company. Together we will continue the roll-out to the remaining locations at full speed,” said Boyan Slat, Founder and CEO, The Ocean Cleanup.
The Interceptor™ Original is the first scalable solution to prevent plastic from entering the world’s oceans from rivers, and after years of planning, Interceptor™ 003 was launched into the Can Tho River in December 2021. The Can Tho cleanup system, also named René in honor of its designer René Bubberman, has removed an average of close to 10,000 kilos of debris each month since trial operations began in December last year.
The Can Tho River has been selected as one of 15 river locations around the world as part of the global implementation partnership between The Coca-Cola Company and The Ocean Cleanup to trial and validate the organization’s technology to stem the tide of plastic pollution entering oceans.
“We are very proud to stand today as the first global implementation partner of The Ocean Cleanup as we help to mobilise collective action and practical solutions to improve the health of the Mekong Delta,” said Leonardo Garcia, General Manager, Coca-Cola Vietnam and Cambodia.
As part of the global implementation partnership, Coca-Cola in Vietnam will support the development of waste management solutions for collected debris and provide local support to The Ocean Cleanup such as engagement with local stakeholders. As part of its World Without Waste vision, The Coca-Cola Company is working to ensure that all of the material it uses in its packaging is collected and recycled, so that none of it ends up as waste. The Company has a global goal to help collect and recycle every bottle and can they sell by 2030.
“Looking back at the entire process of trial deployment of Interceptor™ in Can Tho River, it has proved that with the efforts of governmental agencies, the joining of each citizen, business sector and support of international organizations, we will have effective ways to realize the message “Fighting plastic pollution” via practical technical solutions. We believe that as being handed over to Can Tho City, this project will be efficiently operated. As such, the trash collection will not only happen in Can Tho River but also be scaled up to other rivers in Vietnam. This is also a journey to industrialize the process of collecting, recycling plastic waste; promote a circular economy with ambition for a sustainable green economy in Vietnam,” said Mr. Tran Phong, Director of Southern Environment Protection Agency under MoNRE.
In Vietnam, Coca-Cola is helping to support and drive locally relevant collection and recycling solutions. Coca-Cola Vietnam was one of the founding members of Packaging Recovery Organisation (PRO) Vietnam, a partnership with other leading companies, recyclers and government agencies to accelerate local packaging collection and recycling in support of a clean and green Vietnam.