How to stop the plastic soup: interview with SEADS – Sea Defence Solutions
With the amount of plastic pollution in our waters increasing every year, it becomes crucial to find solutions that would help to reduce it as soon as possible: plastics pollution is not only dangerous for all the marine life but it could become a threat to humans too.
SEADS – Sea Defence Solutions seems to have found a very effective way to solve this problem by installing barriers on rivers to collect plastics and debris before they could get into the sea.
The idea behind this project is fairly simple but is based on a very interesting fact: out of the 20 largest rivers on earth, 10 of them are responsible for the 88% of the global pollution in our seas and oceans.
If barriers like those designed by SEADS – Sead Defence Solutions will be installed in those rivers, the amount of plastic pollution and debris that would reached the sea will be significantly reduced
What are the challenges to make this project work? What kind of work will be needed to install those barriers in many rivers across the globe? Today Impakter is speaking with Fabio Dalmonte, Founder and Managing Director of SEADS – Sea Defence Solutions and Mauro Nardocci, the Director of Communication, to find out more about this brilliant idea. Let’s hope to see their barriers installed very soon. The cleanup of our Oceans should start from our rivers.
What is your background? What inspired you to start SEADS – Sea Defence Solutions?
FABIO DALMONTE: I am an Engineer with a specialization in waste management and a solid experience in both CSR and environmental consultancy. As a part of my Master in Waste Management Engineering at the University of West of Scotland I have been working on a project to assess the conditions of the Citarum river in Jakarta. During my first visit to Indonesia I was deeply touched by the terrible issue of the plastic pollution and I started reflecting on possible solutions. That was the birth of SEADS – Sea Defence Solutions.
MAURO NARDOCCI: I am an Engineer as well but I have been working for most of my career as Marketing Director in the FMCG sector. I met Fabio while he was creating the Sustainability Report for Barilla, the company I was working for. When I left my corporate role to move to the US and become an Executive Coach, Fabio asked me to join SEADS as Communication Director. Given my passion for the environment and the Oceans in particular, I immediately accepted.
What is SEADS – Sea Defence Solutions mission?
F.D. & M.N. : Our mission is to preserve the Oceans by collecting and recycling up to 90% of the plastic entering our Oceans every year, before it reaches the sea, transforming it in an important resource.
We offer a complete consulting service to design, produce and install river barriers able to collect up to 100% of macro-plastic waste in the rivers and re-direct it towards recycling. Given the scientific evidence that almost 90% of plastic waste reaching the Oceans pass through rivers, we can collect an estimated 5 million tons of plastic (estimated to quadruple over the next 30 years) and re-direct them towards recycling, protecting in the meantime important industries like Tourism, Fishing and preventing this plastic to enter our Food Chain with invaluable advantages for Human Health. As 90% of this plastic reaches the Oceans via 10 big rivers (Indus, Niles, Yellow River, Mekong etc.), starting from these rivers would already dramatically reduce the quantity of plastic contaminating our marine environment.
At what stage of the project are you? When do you think it will be ready to be used in several areas of the world?
F.D. & M.N. : SEADS has a patented technology, a system that we call Blue Barriers, that allows maximum effectiveness in collecting waste from rivers (up to 100% in std conditions). It is the winner of a prize for innovative start-ups to protect the oceans, organized by WWF.
The technology is actually ready to use. We have already tested a reduced scale model of our Blue Barriers in an artificial basin where we tested our collection effectiveness at different current levels, from very low to very strong.
- We are currently completing a real scale test in Northern Italy on Lamone river. We are also finalizing the results of simulations and modelling work done in partnership with the University of Florence, that will allow us to adapt the structure of the system to any size of river and current.
- SEADS has established partnerships with several universities in Europe (Politecnico di Milano, University of Florence, University of West of Scotland) to guarantee access to all latest academic discoveries.
- SEADS has selected the best possible technical parter (Bolina Booms Ltd: 25+ years of experience in producing and installing rivers barriers across Europe) to guarantee reliability and perfect management of unforseeable conditions.
- After announcing our technology to the media at the end of 2018, we are already working on projects to install our Blue Barriers in Indonesia, Scotland, Italy, and China.
F.D. & M.N. : Clearly any river affected by plastic pollution would highly benefit from the installation of such system. However our main focus is to install our barriers on the 10 big rivers that make up for almost 90% of the overall plastic entering our Oceans from the inland.
F.D. & M.N. : What are your thoughts about the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals)? How do you think your company can give a positive contribution in that sense?
SGDS are a great way to create awareness and focus our common efforts towards the most important sustainability goals for our society.
In particular SEADS will significantly contribute to SGD 14 “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development” but clearly preventing macroplastics to enter the Oceans, degrade to microplastics and enter our food chain, will also play an important role to achieve SGD 3 “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” as nutrition is the main base for a healthy lifestile.
In the cover picture: The Blue Barriers collecting plastics. Photo Credits: SEADS – Sea Defence Solutions