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  • Justin Sather

Justin Sather and the Interceptor: One Year Later

Hi! My name is Justin Sather and I'm 12 years old.

I'm on a mission to spread the message that our planet needs our help.

The last few years, I have been learning all about our world's plastic pollution crisis. And I've learned more than I wanted to know. I learned there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050 if we don’t change our ways. I learned a million single-use plastic bottles are bought per minute, and water bottles take over 400 years to decompose. I also learned that every minute a garbage truck full of plastic is dumped into our waterways. This has led to the creation of 5 Great Garbage Patches in the middle of our oceans. And then I learned all about Boyan Slat, and he gave me hope! Boyan Slat wanted to make a change, and after a lot of hard work and determination, he founded The Ocean Clean-Up Organization. Boyan successfully used his imagination and engineering skills to create a boat called “The Interceptor”. It is an automated, solar-powered trash collector boat that traps plastic pieces and trash floating in rivers and creeks before they reach the ocean and disposes the trash outside and away from the water. There are now 11 Interceptor Boats helping the dirtiest rivers around the world. They are located worldwide in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Dominican Republic, and more. This is extremely important because it has been estimated that almost 80% of the plastic carried into the ocean comes from 1,000 rivers around the world. Through Team Seas, I have been able to fundraise to help The Interceptor Boats worldwide capture and clean up plastic and trash. So far, I’ve raised enough money to keep 700 pounds of plastic and trash from entering our oceans. Now, right near my home, I helped The Interceptor Boat 007 get approved for the Ballona Creek in Los Angeles. I started Justin’s Frog Project at the Ballona Wetlands when I was in kindergarten and spent many years restoring the wetlands next to the creek so this has been a dream come true. Some of the residents were against having to look at the boat from their homes or were concerned it might make too much noise or have odors from the trash. I had my classmates write letters to Los Angeles Supervisor Holly Mitchell and I had a meeting with her team explaining how important it is for her to approve the interceptor and create change for the future.

Interceptor 007 was approved and launched in October, 2022. I was invited to the Ribbon Ceremony and got to meet Boyan Slat and Holly Mitchell in person. It was a huge honor to attend. I also am very grateful for the Friends of Ballona Wetland and Ballona Creek Renaissance for all of their support with my work. In just 3 short months, the Interceptor 007 has already stopped 85,000 pounds of trash from reaching the Pacific Ocean. -Justin Sather

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