According to a report by McKinsey, our oceans may have more plastic than fish by weight by 2050.
This short video will illustrate how plastic end up in our oceans and how they damage the marine ecosystem.
This World Oceans Day, WaterScience looks at some of the startups and organisations working to leave behind Oceans free of plastics for our future generations.
The Ocean Cleanup Project
The Ocean Cleanup Project aims to deploy a free-floating U-shaped system that concentrates floating plastic waste to a central point. Ships then fish the waste out of the water and take it to the shore.
Founded by Dutch-born investor, Boyan Slat, the project has received $31.5 Million in funding till date. The project is on track to deploy the clean-up systems in the next few months. The target is to remove upto 50% of the floating plastic wastes in the Pacific ocean gyre in the next 5 years.
Plastic recycling has been a myth till now. Why? Because the current recycling methods we have only ‘downcycle’ a piece of plastic to a lower grade plastic. For example, if you send a plastic bottle for recycling, it cannot be converted to another plastic bottle. It will instead be used to make a lesser quality plastic product like synthetic clothing.
The answer is ‘Better Plastic’ by Banyan Nation. Better Plastic is a near virgin grade recycled plastic. Banyan Nation has developed technologies that eliminates all kinds of contaminants from the plastic, including oil, paint, adhesives, dirt, labels, etc. This allows them to convert recycled plastic almost to its original quality.
With a funding of $1 Million, Banyan Nation works with OEMs to help them use recycled plastics in their products. Currently it is working with Tata Motors to manufacture auto bumpers.
Prof Rajagopalan Vasudevan - The Plastic Man of India
If we cannot stop using plastics, we can at least stop it from flowing into our oceans.
This is what Prof Rajagopalan Vasudevan has been upto. He has deviced technologies to build roads from plastic wastes. And as it turns out, plastic roads are better than traditional roads. They reduce the amount of bitumen used - another fossil fuel product and they require less maintenance.
The first road built using this technology in 2002 - a small stretch at the Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai, is still going strong.
Prof Vasudevan is now tweaking this technology to create ‘plastone’ - a stone block with plastic coating. Plastone can be used in construction of buildings and outdoor flooring.