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  • The donors are the Benioff Ocean Initiative and the Coca-Cola Foundation, who granted the NGO Marea Verde and partners, a fund for having nominated the best proposal to implement an innovative system for capturing garbage and plastic that reaches the Matías Hernández River, in Panama city, Panama.
  • For this proposal, Wisy, a Panamanian venture of Carnegie Mellon VentureBridge and SAP.iO Foundry Program, based in San Francisco, will be in charge of the artificial intelligence component.
  • Besides cutting-edge technology, other components are research, awareness and empowerment of the communities that live in the river basin.
Benioff Ocean Initiative and The Coca-Cola Foundation Announce Funding for River Clean-Up Programs

Wisy is part of the winning team led by Fundación Marea Verde, a nonprofit association that takes action and raises awareness about solid waste pollution in the rivers and coasts of Panama. The grant was awarded by the Benioff Ocean Initiative and the Coca-Cola Foundation to develop and implement an innovative project that mitigates the problem of plastic in the Matías Hernández river. 

The project involves collecting the garbage and plastic that flows down the Matías Hernández River and it is the first of nine selected globally in an effort to capture plastic waste in the rivers before they reach the sea. The proposal was selected for its creativity in terms of innovation, technology, community outreach and the interdisciplinary nature of its professional team.

The partnership includes the use of the “Mr. Trashwheel ”, whose key parts, a water wheel and conveyor belts, will be designed and built in order to collect more efficiently and constantly the garbage that is currently trapped by the BoB (barrier or garbage from the Spanish Barrera or Basura) in the Matías Hernández river, in Panama. 

At the institutional level, the participation of Wisy relates to using its artificial intelligence platform to process trash data in real-time whereas The Technological University of Panama together with Panamanian scientists Daniel Suman and Ana Spalding will participate in the research component.

“We are excited about this opportunity granted by the Benioff Ocean Initiative and the Coca-Cola Foundation to generate data and best practices that allow us to contribute to mitigate the challenge of marine litter,” said Mirei Endara, co-founder of Marea Verde. “We are sure that we will learn from and strengthen ourselves with the other eight projects that will establish devices in other rivers of the world, and that together we will move towards a world with less waste at sea.” The other eight projects will be established in Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Ecuador, Mexico, Thailand, Jamaica and Kenya.

Wisy’s CEO and co-founder, Min Chen, said “We are proud to be part of this project led by Marea Verde, in which our platform will be used to process trash data in real-time driven by artificial intelligence. Our thanks to Benioff Ocean Initiative and the Coca-Cola Foundation.” 

With this project, Wisy continues to its commitment to develop and implement artificial intelligence to tackle challenges related to resilient cities and empowered citizens. We are convinced that technology should be used to contribute to solve the great challenges that society is facing nowadays.