Clean up the ocean: LA County is using a Dutch nonprofit’s Interceptor to block the flow of trash off Ballona Creek

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — A new device recently installed in Los Angeles is helping stop tons of garbage from floating in the Pacific.

The Interceptor, made by the Dutch non-profit organization the ocean cleansing, serves as the last line of defense against garbage spilling into the sea via Ballona Creek.

The Interceptor was introduced in Los Angeles County in October of this year and recent rains in the area are testing the system.

“It really works,” said local resident Wei Ghang. “They block a lot of junk.”

The 120 square mile watershed upstream is a source of more than just water. Trash corralled by the Interceptor is barged to Playa Del Rey where it is unloaded, sorted and taken to the landfill.

The Ocean Cleanup is partnering with LA County for a two-year pilot. It’s the first Interceptor in North America, and in such an urban setting, every storm that comes is a learning experience.

“In this latest storm, the wind and water were more choppy than our previous storm experiences,” said Steve Frasher of LA County Public Works. “It took a bit of innovation to make sure we caught as much trash with the boom as waves try to push it past the boom.”

Last winter, 30 tons of garbage were intercepted at the Lincoln garbage boom, which is a previously installed device separate from the interceptor.

This year, despite the ongoing boom, the Interceptor stopped 10 tons of garbage from reaching the ocean. It doesn’t count what came from the last storm.

So where is all this trash in the water coming from?

“The source of the garbage is you and I,” Frasher said. “People upstream, our communities, the coffee cups, the soda bottles — just random discards that end up in the stormwater system or the creek and get stuck behind the boom on the Interceptor.”

The most effective way to reduce the amount of garbage entering the sea is quite simple: throw out your garbage.

But the lessons learned here in LA will make the Interceptor more effective as the project expands.

“It’s a chance to be at the forefront of innovative technology and to be able to set the stage and tell the story,” said Frasher. “It’s exciting for everyone in this field.”

Copyright © 2023 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved. Clean up the ocean: LA County is using a Dutch nonprofit’s Interceptor to block the flow of trash off Ballona Creek

Laura Coffey

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