Environment is a lifetime asset, and preserving it is not a chore. This unique bio-cultural tapestry has been resilient to change for a very long time; but now with the unprecedented economic changes, the quality is deteriorating. Problems such as pollution (air, land and water), generation of wastes, global warming have plagued the ecosystem and it is high time that initiatives are driven with a focus – sustainability.
Cataloguing, mapping and monitoring the environment with the use of digital tools would give us a glimpse of what we have- and what is vulnerable. The scale of the problem is massive and multiple stakeholders are sharing their paths and creating innovative ways to address the issues.
On the World Earth day, here are the examples of 3 such novel approaches that are tackling environmental concerns systematically.
“Great Pacific garbage Patch” is a massive floating island of plastic between California and Hawaii, which is three times of France. It is the largest accumulation of ocean plastic in the world. The estimated 1.8 trillion plastics weigh more than 80,000 tons.
- Sensing the severity of the situation, Boyan Clat, an 18-year old student at TU delft, launched The Ocean Cleanup, an organization focused on clearing the ‘Great Pacific garbage Patch’. The system uses natural oceanic forces to move faster than the plastic and allow the plastic to be captured in the center of the system. After accumulation, the vessel removes the collected plastics after every few months and then sorted for recycling.
- The ‘Wilson’ system, as they call it, has completed 800-mile journey in January 2019. They are striving to eliminate technical risks through rapid iterations and aim to reach proof-of-technology as fast as possible, scale up to full fleet in the Great Pacific Garbage patch as of 2020.
Talking about the plastics, another innovative process, Akshay Sethi‘s Ambercycle, provides a sustainable and economically sensible choice for plastic disposal and synthesis. The technology harnesses engineered enzymes to transforms PET into Purified Terephthalic Acid (PTA). The cost of PET plastic recycling is lowered with no carbon footprint to generate PTA. Sustainable plastic fibers produced by Ambercycle will lead to cost-effective applications beneficial to the environment.
Featured on Forbes India, ‘Swajal’ is a startup by Vibha Tripathi, which converted solar energy to build a water-purifying system with ultra-filtration and Reverse Osmosis (RO) technology. The company’s water ATMs are installed in 400 locations, dated August 2018, making clean drinking water accessible the rural areas at 5 INR per liter. They have introduced QR-code tracked water-bottles and remote sensing water purification systems at its installation point. This deployment of modern technology serves as a great help in areas where power-supply is a major concern.
A comprehensive methodology should be identified to integrate technological and environmental systems
The above examples serve as lessons to drive environmental concerns to implementation. Policies and regulations must reflect the need for experimentation after research. Several paths and methods should be tried and tested to check compatibility with the system-based approaches.
The environmental perturbations can be mitigated by collectively focusing on technologies that encourage the evolution of environment-friendly processes. This can then, with the help of technology, establish a healthy, safe and sound relationship between humans and the ecosystem.