National Harbor, Md. — The Ganges River plays important spiritual, cultural and economic roles for millions of residents of India. The river is also one of the largest contributors of plastic waste into the world's waters.
But one company, a half a world away in Salt Lake City, is hoping to take steps to help alleviate that pollution problem.
Renewlogy is at the center of a project sponsored by the Alliance to End Plastic Waste that will place a mobile plastic waste-to-energy system along a tributary of the Ganges aimed at collecting used plastics and converting them into fuel.
The system is a scaled-down version of the company's pyrolysis equipment that CEO Priyanka Bakaya hopes will prove effective in capturing some of the waste that constantly enters the river and its tributaries.
The Ganges is one of 10 rivers in Asia and Africa that deliver some 90 percent of the plastic pollution to the world's oceans.
She hopes that proving the viability of a small-scale pyrolysis system eventually will lead to placement of additional units in other parts of India and the world to help tackle the problem.
While Bakaya's expertise is in making fuel from old plastics, she said that can only be one part of any solution. So the project is also working to establish a program that will include education, physical barriers and reverse vending machines to help divert plastic from waterways and create value for consumers.