If we do not act, our rivers will continue to dump the plastic waste they contain into our seas, and so continue to add to the plastic soup, which is the most difficult place for removal. We want to prevent this from happening. We want to make sure that our rivers stop pouring plastic waste into our seas and oceans.

But this is not an easy task at all. The Plastic Soup alike, riverine plastic pollution is a so-called wicked problem: it has social aspects, as well as economic and ecologic components. Additionally, it is linked to many other problems (e.g. health) and almost every single person is involved. Adding to all this, the knowledge about the problem is still incomplete and insufficient to enable the definition of a clear and feasible approach with a predictable outcome.

This means that riverine plastic pollution is hard to solve. However, not solving it is not an option.

Zero Plastic Rivers wants to contribute actively to build the necessary knowledge, know-how and technology to effectively solve this problem.

For this purpose, we adopt a scientific and structured approach which is based on an appropriate mix of different scientific domains such as quantitative optimization, environmental management, marine engineering, measurement technology, information technology, sociology and psychology for sustainability.

Essentially, this approach consists of five distinct steps.

Define – Measure – Analyze – Improve – Control

The first step aims to define the problem to solve as specific as possible. Related to plastic pollution, it is necessary to make a distinction between macro-, micro- and nano-plastics. Once this choice has been make, it is necessary to create a measurement system that enables to measure the concerned plastic pollution. The next step is to investigate and identify all the possible causes. Then, the problem will be addressed by eliminating as much of the causes as possible, focusing on the most important ones.

BY WORKING TOGETHER WE CAN STOP THE PLASTIC SOUP

People - Science - Technology

For this purpose, we will put into practice a number of well-known principles. To start, what can be measured can be managed. Second, prevention is the best cure and third, remove plastic litter as fast as possible from the environment.

Our first focus is the problem of macro-plastics. Later and if possible, we intend also to address the problem of micro-plastics in rivers and waterways.

What can be measured, can be managed

Obviously, we want to know the impact of different measures and actions. That is why we will not only have to measure the current plastic pollution but also the plastic pollution after the implementation of specific improvement actions, in order to gauge and evaluate the results. Based on this, we can adapt our approach if necessary.

PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE

Make sure to prevent any plastic litter in our environment.

An essential aspect is preventing plastic from entering our rivers. For this, we need your help. And anyone of us can help in a very simple way: dispose of any plastic you use via the official systems of garbage processing and make sure that none of the plastic you use ends up in the environment. Because any plastic that enters the environment will most probably end up in the plastic soup, severely damaging our marine ecosystems.

Remove plastic waste as fast as possible from the environment

If any plastic waste does enter our rivers or waterways, we want to collect and remove it before it reaches the sea via a river’s estuary. We want to prevent any plastic waste to enter the plastic soup, because that is the worst imaginable place for removal. On the contrary, we must and will do whatever we can to remove plastic garbage from our environment as fast as possible. We do not wait until tomorrow, or next week, or next month or until never…  . We have to clean any plastic mess in the environment as soon as possible. In this context, we consider technical solutions, for which we will cooperate with the government, industry and other non-governmental organizations for design and implemention.