The Ocean Cleanup gets US$1 million to clean Kingston Harbour, Jamaica’s most polluted water body

Cutting-edge conservation technology will be deployed in Kingston, Jamaica to clean its largest, most polluted waterway, Kingston Harbour. (Photo: The Ocean Cleanup)

Environmental conservation group The Ocean Cleanup was awarded US$1 million on Thursday (May 7) to deploy its plastic interceptor in the Kingston Harbour on a multi-year project to clean Jamaica’s most polluted waterway.

The award was one of nine granted by the Benioff Ocean Initiative, which, backed by scientists collaborates with the best marine biologists; crowdsources the funds and makes real-life solutions tangible. The Coca Cola Foundation is also supporting the initiative.

The project, being undertaken in collaboration with Recycling Partners of Jamaica, will see The Ocean Cleanup’s solar-powered interceptor being based in Hunts Bay, St Andrew, which it has identified as the single largest source of plastic entering the Caribbean Sea.

All but surrounded by the capital city, Kingston Harbour is the seventh-largest natural harbour in the world and due to its ideal location is one of the most trafficked waterways in the northern hemisphere.

“Our research has indicated that Hunts Bay, which pours into Kingston Harbour, is Jamaica’s highest polluted waterway, responsible for an estimated 578,000 kg of plastic flowing into the ocean each year, which equates to roughly the weight of 80 African elephants,” the group said in a statement.

Hunts Bay will be The Ocean Cleanup’s base, where some 578,000 kilograms of plastic waste chokes the Kingston Harbour annually. (Photo: The Ocean Cleanup)

“The instalment of the Interceptor will be in collaboration with Recycling Partners Jamaica who will help to drive the behavioural changes needed to sustain the efforts and will also operate the Interceptor, ensuring the environmentally sound disposal of all collected plastics and materials,” The Ocean Cleanup continued.

The Ocean Cleanup is well on its way to tackle the world’s 1000 most polluting rivers and has been scaling-up its operations to deploy interceptor technology in more rivers worldwide.

 “This location is vital to Jamaica’s tourism and its visibility is indicative of the country’s commitment to protecting the environment. As we scale up to deploy interceptors in rivers all over the globe, this is another exciting step towards realising this ambition,” the group explained.

Sandy Gully, one of Kingston Harbour’s single-largest contributors of plastic waste. (Photo: iKon Media for Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica)

The Ocean Cleanup further stated that the Jamaica project will follow the deployment of interceptors in Jakarta (Indonesia), Klang (Malaysia, and the soon to be installed Interceptor in Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic).

Prior to this announcement, the group was also preparing to install their solution in Vietnam, Thailand, and Los Angeles County in the United States.