Today with me is a team of students who invented a prototype that could be the answer to the problem of microplastics we face today.
They called it CBRO, meaning “A FRIEND OF THE SEA”.
“The consumption of common food and beverages may result in weekly ingestion of approximately 5 grams of plastic, depending on consumption habits. That equals to one credit card.” Source
Who are they and how are they trying to help to solve the problem of microplastics?
Believe it or not, our speakers are students studying different fields of studies.
Andro Rudan, a passionate environmentalist with a great interest in microplastics, environmental change, pollution and aquaculture. A student at the University of Split, Department of Marine Studies, Graduate Department of Ecology and Marine Protection.
Petra Kundid was always in love with biology, today she is a student of marine biology and is pursuing a doctorate in parasitology at the Biology Centre CAS in the Czech Republic.
Matej Radić, completed his undergraduate studies in Naval Architecture in Dubrovnik, and today his role in the team is to design and build the device.
Antonija Buzov, student of Business Economics – Marketing at the Faculty of Economics in Split. She is a passionate environmentalist who is using her skills as a marketer to position their project on the market and attract investors to support them with future development.
So what motivated this diverse group of students to come together and start this project?
It was entirely accidental. They call themselves a “group of misfits” that came together at the competition called Ocean Hackathon. With their project CBRO, they won third place in the competition.
Talking about microplastics, let’s see what is microplastic and the difference between regular plastic.
“Microplastics are defined as plastic particles under 5mm in size. Primary microplastics are plastics directly released into the environment in the form of small particulates (shower gel microbeads, tyre abrasion, etc.) while secondary microplastics are microplastics originating from the degradation of larger plastic (e.g. degraded plastic bags). They are contaminating the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink.” Source
“The biggest source of microplastic is the degrading process of regular plastic into the environment. It’s a part of a bigger problem.” Petra K.
At this point, microplastic is a global problem. The findings of the first global report on microplastic demonstrate that the problem of plastic pollution is a universal one, and directly affects people. We are part of the problem, but we can also be a part of the solution. Everyone needs to step up and try to do their best to present the solution on their end, from manufactures and producers to government leaders and consumers.
“The problem with microplastic is that is not known or researched as the problem of plastic. Scientists are still not sure how microplastis is affecting us at this point, but they are certain it will have long term effent on our life and we need to start finding the solutions to microplastic problem. ” Antonija B.
How does their prototype tackling the problem of microplastics?
The prototype provides the solution to the first phase of the microplastic problem, the process of sampling microplastic. Still, there isn’t a standardised procedure for sampling microplastic and their prototype is a way to help scientists measure, detect and analyse the level of microplastics in the sea.
The team detected two problems that scientists are having when measuring the level of microplastic in the sea. First, the flow rate of the sample water and the second is the amount of gasoline they are spending when collecting the microplastic sample.
“We are trying to solve two problems at once. Our device is going to have solar panels that power the device. The device is mobile and collects the sample of microplastics on the surface and in the first 30 centimetres of seawater. Thanks to the flow rate sensors, we will have more information about the quantity of water they are sampling.” Matej R.
“Our first solution was to clean the sea for microplastics. The problem is that the size of the microplastic is identical to the size of a plankton. If we start to clean the sea with limitedknowledge of microplastics vs the plankton, we could clean the sea of planctons, and create more problems than the solutions.” Andro R.
Currently, they are in the prototype phase and they are inviting the investors to reach to them and support them in their goal of helping the scientist standardise the process of measuring microplastic.
Listen to the podcast and hear in detail about their prototype, get involved and become part of the solution to the microplastic problem.
Also, do not miss the QUICK & EASY WAVES! – Random questions that I was dying to ask Jan!
Websites/ Reference mentioned in the podcast:
Reach out to Antonija on her LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/antonija-buzov/
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