The Clean Currents Coalition is a collaborative network of dedicated, passionate problem-solvers combating the flow of plastic waste from rivers to the ocean.
In a competitive request for proposals process in 2019, which attracted proposals for 30 projects across 5 continents and 16 countries, the Benioff Ocean Science Laboratory selected the members of the Clean Currents Coalition for their innovative technological designs and strategies for eliminating the flow of plastic waste into rivers and the ocean. Members of the Coalition are working both independently and collaboratively to share knowledge and develop cutting-edge solutions.
Recognizing that the plastics crisis is a complex problem with no one solution, the Coalition are taking a multifaceted approach. Using engineering and environmental science, these teams are piloting a diverse set of cutting-edge technologies to capture and remove plastic waste from rivers. Through experimentation and data collection, they are learning more about the sources of plastic waste and the most effective location-based strategies for stopping it. Through outreach and education, they are catalyzing societal and governmental shifts in thinking about plastic consumption and waste management systems.
Each Clean Currents Coalition team is working in one community on one river system. But together, through collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and a common goal, their ambition is to help replicate these successes to more and more river communities around the world.
The Clean Currents Coalition is a project of the Benioff Ocean Science Laboratory, which has partnered with The Coca-Cola Foundation to provide a combined $11 million to empower and support the success of the project.
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The University of California Santa Barbara is a leading research university globally renowned for its impact across disciplines. UCSB’s Marine Science Institute, home of the Benioff Ocean Science Laboratory, is a recognized leader in marine science and policy, fostering the interdisciplinary research of the Institute’s professional researchers and faculty from 15 academic departments.
The Benioff Ocean Science Laboratory (formerly the Benioff Ocean Initiative), based at UC Santa Barbara’s Marine Science Institute, merges science and technology to improve ocean health. It was brought to life in 2016 when Marc Benioff, co-CEO of Salesforce and ocean advocate, and his wife Lynne made a gift to UC Santa Barbara to promote science-based ocean problem solving.
The Coca-Cola Foundation is the global philanthropic arm of The Coca-Cola Company. Since its inception in 1984, The Foundation has awarded more than $1 billion in grants to support sustainable community initiatives around the world. Recycling has been a longstanding priority of The Coca-Cola Foundation which supports efforts to tackle the world’s plastic waste problem one community at a time.
Environmental Justice Statement
The Benioff Ocean Science Laboratory and members of the Clean Currents Coalition acknowledge the importance of upholding the principles of environmental justice in our efforts, and thus we work collectively and individually to support the equal access to a clean and healthy environment by everyone in our communities. Plastic pollution is an incredibly complex global issue that generates environmental injustices against people all along the supply chain: from oil extraction and refining, to waste management and disposal. By its very nature, the Clean Currents Coalition is tackling these injustices by cleaning up the environment and educating and empowering communities that experience the adverse effects of plastic pollution. We aim to work hand-in-hand with peoples and communities negatively affected by plastics to address inequities and tackle the plastics problem together, for the benefit of all.