As an estimated 5 trillion pieces of plastic garbage are currently polluting ocean habitats, the international shipping exhibition and conference Nor-Shipping argued that it is time for innovation to clean up.
As this problem will not simply take care of itself, people need to look at innovative ways to address it before an inevitable tipping point is reached, according to Nor-Shipping Director Birgit Liodden.
Liodden points out that the main theme of this year’s programme is ‘Catalyst for Change’. Within that context the whole of exhibition Hall A has been devoted to the concept of Disruptive Sustainability – showcasing potential innovations from inside and outside the shipping spectrum – while a Problem to Profit initiative looks to the next generation for ideas to remedy today’s industry problems.
Earlier this month a rare goose-beaked whale repeatedly beached on the shoreline of Sotra, Norway. The stricken animal eventually had to be put down, leading to a grizzly find that should act as a wake-up call to spur society into action, Liodden said.
“This beautiful two ton animal was on the brink of death as its stomach was full, but devoid of nutrition,” she informed.
“Instead of food it had eaten a variety of rubbish, including some 30 plastic bags which had clogged its digestive system. Researchers have since suggested that it may have believed these bags were squid, a usual part of this species’ diet,” she said, adding that the result was a slow and painful death.
One of the solutions to the plastic pollution in oceans was brought by Boyan Slat through his Ocean Cleanup initiative, who won the Young Entrepreneur Award at Nor-Shipping 2015.
Liodden said this kind of innovation from a new generation is needed “to address the biggest challenges facing the maritime industry.”