WFO calls for action to tackle floating debris in rivers

Rivers which flow from inland areas to the seas have increasingly been identified as major transporters of marine litter. The top ten rivers carrying the highest amounts accounted for 88 to 95 percent of the total global load of plastics in the oceans. Halving plastic pollution in these ten waterways - eight of which are in Asia - could potentially reduce the total contribution by all rivers by 45 percent.

That is also where WFO intends to focus its efforts in the coming two years. Working with local stakeholders and companies, WFO will install stationary nets in the rivers with floating water directing the debris into the nets in a natural way. The organisation is ideally placed to contribute to local solutions. Its “Debris Catcher” – a plastic filtration net successfully trialed at harbours and coasts – can either be pulled by small boats easily navigating small river ways or be statically placed on a river bed, naturally collecting waste floating on the water’s surface via river currents. Once the collection net is full, accumulated debris is retrieved from the water with a crane and taken to local waste sorting and recycling centres.

After separating and cleaning the waste, it can be transformed into new raw material for product creation. Waste Free Oceans then partners with brands wanting to use retrieved debris to contribute to a circular economy. Setting up collection nets to gather floating plastic in waste hotspots and combining it with the development of infrastructures to recycle and recover debris offers a long-term answer to the issue with relatively low set-up barriers and costs.

Therefore, WFO welcomes interest from business or government and would like to ask for your support to align our objectives in order to stop the pollution in these rivers.

For more information, please email