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Plastic-Free Oceans and Waterways

"The oceans, seemingly limitless, invoke in us a sense of awe and wonder ...yet they are still the least explored.

With these words, Sir David Attenborough introduces the extraordinary documentary series Blue Planet II. 

But suddenly, his tone of voice changes,

"We have also come to recognize an uncomfortable fact, the health of our oceans is under threat."

More than eight million tonnes of plastic are estimated to enter the sea every year. There will be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050, and 99 percent of the planet's seabirds will have eaten some. According to a University of Ghent study, the average person who eats seafood swallows up to 11,000 pieces of microplastic every year. So "plastic is very much on the menu".

This week we celebrate Earth Day by highlighting some of the most promising innovations trying to turn the tide on ocean plastics. We agree that leakage must stop way before plastic pollution reaches our waterways. But until that happens, the amazing changemakers battling it out on the rivers and seas are the need of the hour.

Just use your Ubuntoo login to browse our solutions as you read this newsletter. And do not hesitate to nominate other changemakers who might be interested in joining the Ubuntoo community.


Plastic Waste Recovery in Oceans and Waterways 

Here are some examples of innovations and solutions to the marine waste issue.  

Ocean Recovery 

• A project that has received a lot of attention lately is The Ocean CleanUp – focusing on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Despite recent technical difficulties, the team is determined to continue on. 

• Others, like ReCleanSea are working off smaller footprints. 

• This exciting Ecuadorian startup is developing technologies to prevent macro and micro plastics entering into the phytoplankton growth areas in coastal zones.

• Multiple innovators and organizations are working on the collection of fishing nets; others are converting those fishing nets into products like skateboards, or polyester fabric.     

Rivers, Coastlines and Harbors

• We have witnessed the emergence of ingenious systems to capture plastic waste in rivers, before they enter the sea: for example Recycled Park and The Blue Barriers.

• Robotics and AI have also found their way into waste collection on coastlines and in harbors too, as demonstrated by Fenbits and  Iadys.  

Advocacy and Awareness 

Many awareness efforts around the world have focused on the impact of plastic pollution on oceans and waterways. Plastic Soup Surfer, Take 3 for the Sea and 4Ocean, to name a few.  


Greenbiz has launched “Accelerate at Circularity 19” - a fast pitch competition featuring entrepreneurs with innovative technologies, products, and services advancing a circular economy.  

The Ocean Plastics Innovation Challenge by National Geographic and Sky Ocean Ventures is accepting submissions till June 11. Teams will compete for aggregate prize purses of up to $500,000.


Have a look at our newest Ubuntoo Labs 60sec film about The Flipflopi, 

a boat entirely made from discarded plastic and flipflops.

Listen to our “Rise of the Ecopreneur” podcast with Tim Silverwood @ Take 3 for the Sea

Surely you have already watched Blue Planet I and II

But if you haven’t, brace yourself for a wonderous dive.  

Register to our Daily Digest and stay up to date with the latest industry news. Just click the subscribe button in our  News Section.

"I can mention many moments that were unforgettable. 

But the single most revelatory three minutes was the first time 

I put on scuba gear and dived on a coral reef. 

It's just the unbelievable fact that you can move in three dimensions."  

– Sir David Attenborough

Trademarks and copyrights are owned by Peter & Venky and information is based on publicly available data. Ubuntoo is not affiliated with Peter & Venky


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Peter & Venky

April 22, 2019
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