Nine river clean-up programs across the world have been selected to receive a total of $11 million (Ksh. 1.1 billion) over the next three years as part of a unique partnership between The Coca-Cola Foundation and the Benioff Ocean Initiative.
The partnership combines The Coca-Cola Foundation’s commitment to support behavioral-change projects regarding recycling and the Benioff Ocean Initiative’s expertise in developing innovative ways to collect and analyze waste from our rivers and oceans and address the plastic crisis.
The programs selected for funding span four continents: Asia, Africa, North America and South America.
“The Coca-Cola Foundation is delighted to partner with the Benioff Ocean Initiative and co-fund nine river clean-up programs. This is an important global partnership for a truly global challenge – cleaning up some of the world’s most polluted rivers and identifying new ways to prevent plastic waste from entering our rivers and oceans,” said Helen Smith Price, President of the Coca-Cola Foundation.
The Marea Verde project to clean up the Matias Hernandez River in Panama is the first to be awarded funding, in recognition of its innovative application of cutting-edge technology, creative and comprehensive outreach strategy, and strong interdisciplinary leadership team.
“With this funding, we will be able to integrate technology and artificial intelligence into our project, which will help us be more effective in collecting trash at our river site, generate pertinent data and develop the capacity to work with communities in this watershed. Our ultimate goal is to provide best practices that may be replicated in other watersheds in Panama and the world, in an effort to positively impact the river plastic challenge,” said Mirei Endara, Co-Founder of Marea Verde.
Eight other programs – in Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Ecuador, Mexico, Thailand, Jamaica and Kenya – are also being finalized for funding. Details of these, including the specific rivers and locations, will be announced in the future. Each project will both clean up the target polluted river and use data about the captured waste to change behavior in people, local communities and businesses.