Bubble walls, robotic sharks and sunglasses made from sea plastic. These are just some of the inventive solutions being advanced to stem the deluge of plastic spewing into the world’s waterways.
With marine habitats at the brink of collapse and micro-plastics devastating food chains and threatening human health, the UN Environment Programme estimates around 11 million tonnes of plastic waste is flowing each year into the ocean, a figure it says could triple by 2040.
Earlier this month the world’s first global plastic pollution treaty was endorsed by world leaders at the UN Environment Assembly in an attempt to reverse this growing emergency (see box below).
As the world waits for this global treaty to turn the tide against plastics, we look at some of the innovators already working hard on solutions to clean up the oceans.