A staggering eight million tons of plastic enters the worlds ocean every year, with a large quantity of it accumulating in five key areas, called gyres, which are large rotating currents, increasingly packed with plastic. The North Pacific Gyre, also known as the infamous Great Pacific Garbage Patch, is estimated to be twice the size of Texas and swirls in the Pacific Ocean roughly between the coast of California and Hawaii. This huge problem requires not just major but innovative solutions.
In response to the need for a new breed of companies to show how innovation can be scaled for both business opportunities and global good the Katerva Awards were launched in 2011. Each year the Awards considered by some as the Nobel Prize for Sustainability identifies 10 companies as finalists and this year awarded the prize to The Ocean Cleanup.
Some 3,500 ideas were submitted to the Katerva Award council last year and The Ocean Cleanup, was selected as this years winner as a force to reverse plastic pollution at sea, using a massive current-powered sieve. Conceived in 2013 by Boyan Slatfrom the Netherlands then only 19-years-oldis taking on the biggest ocean remediation challenge in history: to remove the soup of plastic bits floating in our oceans.
Not too soon, either. Plastic pollution is choking marine life at least one million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals die each year from plastic pollution. And it is affecting human health, too, as toxins from plastic enter our food chain and bodies.
“In essence a massive sieve.”
Powered by waves in the middle of the sea, The Ocean Cleanup (@) is in essence a massive sieve which passively collects sea plastics from up to 3 meters (or 10 feet) deep. Once retrieved, the plastic can be recycled into new products or fuel. Feasibility studies indicate that one 100 km (or 63 mile) array could remove 42 percent of the Great Pacific garbage patchin only 10 years.
Being recognized by Katerva means that The Ocean Cleanup is trusted to succeed in its mission and its drive for innovation. We are deeply honored and hope that the Award and Katervas support will go a long way towards reaching our dream of clean oceans, says Slat.
The Katerva Award runner-up this year isSalt Farm Texel, a proven agriculture technology that can grow food on land that was previously considered to be unsuitable for farming.
The Katerva Award winner will be accelerated with the help of the Katerva community: a global alliance that includes among its members the worlds most distinguished companies, people, policy makers and non-profits committed to improving the state of the world.
I just love the systemic approach of Katerva: we not only identify amazing projects such as The Ocean Cleanup, we have also organizations and individuals in place who can help accelerate such projects, and bring them to their full potential, sooner, says Dr Bettina von Stamm, Director of the Katerva Award. I just love the passion and commitment Katerva inspires.
Katerva (@), founded in 2010 by business intelligence strategist Terry Waghorn, is a not-for-profit organization that finds, evaluates and accelerates disruptive, sustainable innovations that will show measurable impact on this planet in the next 10 years.
Katerva comes from the Latin word Caterva which means crowd. Katervas distributed networks of CEOs, heads of state, ministers and policymakers, experts and academics, international organizations, youth, and technology innovators are fundamental to finding and then accelerating technologies for dramatic, positive changes that can be seen in our lifetime.
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