Summer and holidays are coming ! Imagine yourself resting on the beach, under the sun and when you decide to go swimming, you dive head first into the sea but when you open your eyes you see a sea of wastes with packaging and disposable plastic bags. I just shattered that dream, right? However, you should not see things like this but rather as a call for mobilization. It is about an urgent need to act in order to clean up the planet to have better living conditions today and in the future.
While a majority is considering pollution like a fatality, others try to find solutions by innovating with water cleaning projects, for example.
Firstly, we can talk about the Seabin project initiated by two young Australian surfers Andrew Turton and Pete Ceglinski. It is about a giant waste bin that draws water and collects the waste! The concept is simple: to aspirate water, to filter it, and to reject it once it has been cleaned. In parallel, the waste is stored in a trash which can be emptied easily and regularly. Thus, this giant trash consists of a pump and a bag of natural fibers also conceptualized by the two Australians guys. This innovation is dedicated to clean the busy areas such as lakes, ports, waterways, pontoons and nautical clubs. It is therefore a small-scale project. We can talk about a small revolution that supports the challenges of sustainable development and which proves its worth every day. In fact, this bin works continuously in the port of Palma de Mallorca, in test, and requires a minimum of maintenance: only to change the basket. The Australians hope to raise the necessary funds to start the production and the commercialization of their project. However, this so-called ecological innovation has limitations such as the fact that this waste bin cannot treat other waste such as microparticles or spilled liquids like petrol and detergents.
Another project that is becoming more and more famous today is the “Ocean Cleanup”. It is an ambitious one that “is founded on the belief that technology is the most potent agent of change, capable of solving problems of ocean scale.” Impelled by Boyan Slat, a young Dutchman, it is about implementing a filtering barrier in the framework of the fight against waste and plastic bags pollution. When he started thinking about this solution, he was only 17 years old. The young boy has been wanted to be part of this fight when he realized the extent of the damage during a diving trip: fishes were replaced by countless plastic bags ! Facing this tragic reality, Boyan Slat, also called “the little genius of the sea”, began to imagine the prototype of a filter barrier to rid the oceans of all this waste mostly composed by plastic bags. It is therefore an ambitious and complex project but it makes sense especially because of recent estimates of scientists concerning the 7th continent (a waste pile composed of 90% plastic waste floating on the middle of the oceans: it is about 150 million tonnes of waste (see article). This project involves setting up a barrier with “V-shaped inflatable arms” in order to recover the waste that arrives through the currents. A first test was launched in the North Sea with a reduced model. By 2020, it would be to install buoys, a thousand times more voluminous over 100 km long in the Pacific Ocean. According to the young man, “by deploying only one of these systems for ten years, we could clean up half of the large plate of Pacific waste, or more if we deploy more systems”. On the other hand, we can talk about “success story”. Funding for the project was mainly covered by the Dutch Government and by the Boskalis Group, a maritime domain specialist. Moreover, Boyan Slat hopes to reach more investors thanks to the value of the recovered plastic waste which can then be resold as recycled raw material.
This initiative can prove to be an inspiring example for present and future generations: solutions exist, let’s act !