A 12-year-old boy from India has a grand idea on how to clean up the world’s oceans of plastic waste.
Floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is a patch of garbage so vast that some estimate it to be roughly the size of Texas. The primary component of this patch is plastic--everything from plastic bottles to plastic bags to plastic straws. It’s so large that it’s been called the first floating man-made island made entirely out of garbage.
There are a lot of problems with throwing our waste into the ocean, but plastic waste has the most immediate and direct harm to marine life. Plastic doesn’t biodegrade as other materials do. Instead, it just keeps getting broken down into smaller and smaller pieces. Eventually, they get small enough that marine life mistakes them for something edible, and this happens at every level of the food chain from the largest fish to the tiniest plankton.
They’re all eating plastic, and it’s killing them.
But one 12-year-old Indian boy has a grand plan to clean up the world’s oceans and save marine life for not just his generation, but all generations to come after.
The idea is called 'Ervis', and it’s been Haaziq Kazi’s brainchild since he was just 9 years old. Essentially a giant ship combined with a water vacuum, Ervis cleans the ocean by sucking in water, separating out the plastic, and dumping marine life back into the water that has now been cleaned of plastic debris.
"I watched some documentaries and realized the impact waste has on marine life. I felt I had to do something,” says Kazi in an interview. “The fish we eat are eating plastic in the ocean, so the cycle of pollution comes to us. Hence, I came up with Ervis."
Although the fine details have yet to be hammered down, a lot of work has gone into Ervis’ design. Sensors are used to determine what’s plastic and what’s a wiggling fish so as not to confuse the two. Once the plastic has been removed from the water, it’s segregated into 5 separate categories where it can be reused or disposed of safely.
Kazi has already presented his idea at international conferences like TedX and Ted8. He hopes that it can one day comb the ocean waters and clean up the mess that previous generations have made.