Freeing the oceans of plastic is possible. Find out how | Society | The USA Print


Covering more than 70% of the earth’s surface, the oceans produce about 50% of all the oxygen we consume, in addition to hosting the largest amount of biodiversity that lives on earth and being the main source of protein for more than billion people around the world. Today, our waters suffer one of the bloodiest threats in their entire history.

Between uncontrolled fishing, climate change and directly exposed pollution, the current vulnerability of the oceans puts more than 90% of large marine species at risk, which have been greatly reduced, as well as than 50% of the coral reefs, which are destroyed.

Among the main sources of pollution that threatens maritime life, the risks derived from the presence of plastic waste in the oceans, 80% of which come from rivers, represents a red flag of proportions that are increasingly difficult to deal with. . It is estimated that on average, about eight million tons of plastic are dumped into the world’s oceans each year. If this trend is not reversed, specialists predict that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the sea.

process609 (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Innovation and commitment

This scenario tells us about a reality that must be combated immediately: we are extracting more from the waters than we can replenish, which in turn poses an extremely urgent commitment to effective and innovative long-range strategies , where all sectors and individuals linked to maritime life, whether directly or indirectly, are actively and consciously involved.

Fortunately, the recent decade has also been met with alliances and actions, where business commitment and focused technological ingenuity have been able to bring about significant transformations to add substantial change. In this sense, one of the most outstanding recent actions is proposed by the Corona beer company, Fundación Circular and the British-Ecuadorian startup born from the laboratories of Imperial College London, ichthioncalled Azure Project.

Within the framework of World Oceans Day, this agreement was signed, which seeks to recover the San Pedro River in the city of Quito, Ecuador, from the plastic pollution that currently affects its rivers.

Designed to achieve optimal extraction of solid waste in rivers, and awarded for being the only technology in the world capable of extracting up to 80 tons per day with a low environmental impact, allowing the free circulation of aquatic flora and fauna, Azure is the first of its kind to reach Ecuador and South America with the purpose of combating plastic pollution, achieving an unprecedented cost-efficiency ratio.

In addition, this unique development allows the generation of vital information for decision-making and the creation of evidence-based public policies and improvement of municipal waste management systems. Since 2019, the presence of Ichthion in Ecuador has represented hope for the Portoviejo River, and thus prevent plastic pollution from reaching the Galapagos Islands.

For its part, Corona’s investment for this project ($800,000), which is projected to last three years, seeks to ensure that the timely implementation of the Azure Project eliminates about 65% of the plastic waste that passes through the San Pedro River. , although this action is only part of the entire solution pursued by the project, which also contemplates the development of close collaboration with the community, in order to generate awareness and commitment to the care of water sources.

Currently, the project, which seeks to be sustainable and scalable, is in the installation phase of the system to extract solid waste from this important tributary. Learn more about it at

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