“The lifetime cost of the plastic
produced in 2019 will be at least US$3.7 trillion and more than the GDP of
India.” WWF 2021.
Of the 200 million tons of plastic waste produced worldwide every year, 11 million tons end up in our oceans (WWF, 2021). Most of this ocean plastic has its origins on land and is washed by rivers into the sea where it lasts indefinitely, negatively impacting marine life through ingestion, entanglement and poisoning. The interconnectedness of our oceans means that all ocean plastic, no matter the origin, is everybody’s problem.
The Strandloper Project, an initiative that researches and highlights the damage that ghost fishing causes to the environment, wants to intercept this avalanche of plastic before it reaches our seas. We intend to come up with a novel solution to intercept plastic at the end of stormwater systems and are raising funds to offer as a cash prize for a competition to innovate this solution. Tertiary level students will be invited to engineer a scaled proof-of-concept prototype of a self-flushing interceptor of plastic debris suitable for placement at the outlet of storm water drains.
Existing solutions for stormwater systems (similar to those designed by StormX) play an important part in capturing gross pollutants in coastal areas in parts of South Africa but the collection bags must be emptied regularly, especially in high-flow conditions. Flooding increases the risk of system failure as well as the danger of injury to the operator. The winning design will be one that intercepts plastic debris at the outlet of stormwater drains and diverts it away from the flow of the water, making it safe and simple to empty, even in flood conditions. This will also reduce the risk of plastic escaping the system and ending up in the ocean.
Please help us keep plastic out of the ocean. Donate now.