Ocean pollution is an enormous challenge and the hazardous effects of plastic pollution in the oceans have spurred many individuals, organizations and companies to develop ingenious methods and create innovative devices to tackle the problem.
Among the few environmentalists and scientists, a 12- year old Indian boy Haaziq Kazi is hogging the limelight for designing a ship named ERVIS that could clean up the waste out of the ocean’s surface.
Two years ago, Haaziq Kazi, studying in Pune’s Indus International School in Grade 5 was dismayed by the magnitude of the plastic pollution in the oceans and the devastating ill-effects on the marine life and decided to design a ship to collect the waste from the oceans and clean it.
Since last year, Haaziq has been highlighting the hazards of ocean plastic pollution and measures to prevent it. He has been working with different people, organisations and forums to create public awareness for the same.
Recently, Haaziq Kazi was one of the speakers at the TEDxGateway event in Mumbai where he received applause for his genius design as well as his take on the ocean’s plastic pollution. Speaking to Al Arabiya English, Haaziq Kazi shed light on his innovation ERVIS and the importance of overcoming plastic pollution in the ocean in a responsible manner.
In 2016, his interest to clean up the world’s ocean was sparked by watching documentaries on the National Geographic Channel about the ocean waste problem and its dangers to marine life. He was also impressed by Boyan Slat’s TED Talk and also wanted to make a difference on the ocean waste problem.
Explaining the concept of ERVIS’s emergence, Haaziq said that once while washing his hands he watched the water flow into the sinkhole. He thought he can use the same principle of centripetal force to suck waste from the ocean’s surface. This created his first rough model of ERVIS which was his vision for changing the future.
However, the current prototype design of ERVIS emerged much later, in mid 2017, following extensive research and consultations with few scientists, designers, inventors and environmentalists; all of whom helped him to refine his vision of ERVIS and make it more practical in design.
ERVIS is an intelligent ship which has multiple saucers and chambers surrounding it. (Supplied)
The Intelligent Ship
Talking about the functions and features of ERVIS, Haaziq says, ERVIS is an intelligent ship which has multiple saucers and chambers surrounding it. The saucers suck in the ocean’s waste and through connected pipes send it across five different chambers; within which the entered waste is analysed, segregated and compacted and the filtered water is pumped back into the oceans.
The first chamber is for waste oil and the other four chambers are for large, medium, small and micro waste respectively. Haaziq clarifies that although he is currently working on the prototype of ERVIS, “It is still in the initial phases.
It will have to go through multiple stages and trials along with substantial funding before a fully operational ERVIS comes out in the oceans.Yet, Haaziq is optimistic that ERVIS will be a reality and in the future, multiple ERVISes will man the oceans; cleaning and scavenging the waste off it”.
Haaziq wants to use sustainable energy to power ERVIS like solar energy or Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) or Liquefied BioGas (LBG); being inspired by newer radical designed ships, which are utilising sustainable energy. He also hopes to make ERVIS fully autonomous like TESLA.
Haaziq is very passionate about creating public awareness of the dangers of ocean plastic pollution as he believes that this will solve a multitude of problems. He states that the global consumption of plastic in the last decade alone has surpassed that of the last century’s plastic consumption and that a major part of it was ending up in the oceans.
‘No Planet B’
Haaziq quotes Mahatma Gandhi and says, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” He further emphasises, “We all have in some manner contributed and created this ocean waste problem and if we don’t make smart choices or change the way we consume plastic in a more responsible manner, this problem will not only persist, but it will aggravate.”
He further asserts that he wants people to be conscious of their choices as there is only one earth which will be bequeathed to future generations and that our actions now will determine our legacy. He reminds us that “There is no Plan B, as there is no Planet B”.
When asked about his future plans and innovation, he muses that there is so much more to be done and adds that the ocean plastic problem itself poses the bigger problem of micro plastics which are more in quantity and a greater threat than plastics on the ocean surface. He mentions that wastes on beaches are a challenge.
He further adds that through ERVIS he wants to create a platform for like-minded people to connect and collaborate and help alleviate the problems facing the oceans and marine life.
Haaziq sees himself solving problems of the world innovatively and by sustainable means. One such problem that this child prodigy wishes to resolve relates to urban transportation.
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New Delhi, May 16: The Centre directed Uttar Pradesh and Bihar on Sunday to prevent dumping of dead bodies in the Ganga and its tributaries, and focus on their safe disposal and a dignified cremation after corpses were seen floating in these rivers following a spurt in the number of coronavirus cases.
At a review meeting conducted on May 15-16, the Centre said dumping of dead bodies and partially burnt or decomposed corpses in the Ganga and its tributaries has recently been reported, which is "most undesirable and alarming".
"Namami Gange directs states to prevent dumping of dead bodies in the Ganga and focus on their safe disposal and providing support for ensuring dignified cremation," the Jal Shakti Ministry said.
The state pollution control boards were directed to monitor the water quality more frequently in consultations with the health departments.
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) was assigned the task of overall monitoring, providing guidance to the state pollution control boards and taking up advanced analysis in the matter.
Support for cremation needs to be given top priority. Effective implementation of the government orders needs to be ensured. No loss of time should take place in implementation, the ministry said.
An advisory was issued by Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga, to the district magistrates, who are also the chairpersons of the district Ganga committees, on May 11.
This was followed up by a letter the next day to the chief secretaries to prevent the dumping of dead bodies in the river and ensure enforcement of the government guidelines on the cremation of COVID-19 victims.
The letter also advised the states to provide financial assistance as well as regulate the rates for the cremation or burial process.
On May 15, the steps taken in this regard in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were reviewed at a meeting chaired Pankaj Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti, and further action points were decided.
Highlighting the instructions already given, Kumar had called for expeditious action and underscored the need to give equal attention to such incidents in urban and rural areas along the Ganga and other rivers.
"Stopping of dumping of dead bodies as well as their safe disposal and protection of water quality have to be ensured on a war footing. After knowing the progress from the states, the CWC (Central Water Commission), the CPCB and the state pollution control boards would also be giving their feedback and action plans," he had said.
Mishra stated that the situation is being monitored and follow-up action is being taken in several districts such as Unnao, Kanpur rural, Ghazipur and Balia in Uttar Pradesh and Buxar and Saran in Bihar.
However, some cases have also been reported from other districts. He asked the state missions to keep an eye on the situation.
Mishra emphasised the need to strengthen enforcement, maintain vigil and take proactive action to facilitate and support the families for the cremation of the bodies and asked the state missions to specifically report on this.
"If needed, the project directors can assess and also give support to the district Ganga committees for this out of the NMCG funds available with them, while keeping the NMCG informed," he said.
Rajnish Dubey, Additional Chief Secretary, Urban Development, and Anurag Shrivastav, Principal Secretary, Jal Shakti and Project Director, State Ganga Mission, represented Uttar Pradesh in the meeting.
Shrivastava said all the district magistrates have been alerted about the issue and patrolling is being carried out to prevent dumping of dead bodies in the Ganga.
He also informed that 13 crematoria under Namami Gange, in addition to the existing ones, have been made available for the cremation of dead bodies.
It was informed that orders have been issued for financial support for cremations in urban areas. Dubey said similar orders for a financial support of Rs 5,000 have been issued by the Panchayati Raj department for rural areas and the SDRF and other forces have also been asked to carry out patrolling.
Anand Kishore, Principal Secretary, Urban Development and Project Director, State Ganga Mission, Government of Bihar, informed that it has been decided that the cremation or burial expenses of those dying due to COVID-19 will be borne by the state government.
He added that even if the deceased did not have a COVID-positive report but showed symptoms of the disease, the family will be offered this support.
He also said patrolling is being done to prevent further dumping of dead bodies in the river, especially in districts like Buxar and Saran (Chhapra).
CWC Chairman S K Halder informed that they are monitoring the flow and the water quality of the river through their stations and will further increase the frequency.
CPCB Member Secretary Prashant Gargava said the board has forewarned all water monitoring stations along the Ganga and her tributaries. The periodicity of testing the water quality has also been increased.
Debashree Mukherjee, Additional Secretary with the Jal Shakti Ministry, stated that besides an urgent assessment of the risks to the riverside communities by the pollution control boards, there is a need to raise awareness on the dos and don'ts as regards the use of river water and to prevent such incidents of dumping of bodies in the river.