Swiss fine watchmaker Montres Breguet and Race for Water, a foundation to preserve water, held a conference in Lausanne, Switzerland. The two partners marked the first year of collaboration and talked about the innovative solutions that can be adopted before plastic waste enters the marine environment.
Breguet joined Race for Water in March as the main sponsor of a five-year program, entitled “Odyssey 2017-2021” with a crucial mission for the oceans. This collaboration, announced by Breguet President Marc A. Hayek and Race for Water Founder and CEO Marco Simeoni, started within a long-term strategy. Breguet committed to support the Race for Water pioneering vessel sailing the seas around the world and to contribute to raising awareness among the decision-makers and general public, as well as educating the young generations.
Throughout 2018, the Race for Water vessel, powered by a mix of solar, hydrogen, and kite energies, has travelled with stopovers in several islands and coastal cities demonstrating that clean energy transition is a reality. Having left Panama in March 2018, the boat continued to Peru and Chile, and sailed in the Pacific Ocean with stopovers in the Robinson Crusoe Island, Rapa Nui (formerly known as the Easter Island), the French Polynesia, to arrive to the Samoan Islands in November and Tonga Islands in December. Since the beginning of the Odyssey, the vessel visited 9 countries, welcomed aboard over 3,200 children and met over 8,500 official guests.
Plastic waste is the problem and the solution
The Race for Water scientific research proved that “plastic islands” do not exist. Micro particles of plastic drift in the ocean; while only 1% of the plastic remains at the surface. The Foundation, created in 2010 by Swiss entrepreneur Marco Simeoni, is working towards offering solution for preserving the oceans from plastic pollution, a genuine environmental disaster on a planetary scale.
“The solution is on land”, explains Marco Simeoni, Founder and CEO of the Race for Water Foundation. “Combined action is essential in preventing plastic waste from reaching the waterways and the oceans through the development of sustainable social models and business models that inspire its collection. Together with Montres Breguet, we are aiming at getting closer to making our dream of a better world come true.”
“We have come up with a technology capable of transforming end-of-life plastics into energy, either gas or electricity”, Marco Simeoni says. “The sale of this energy will allow the community to pay the street collectors and encourage them to pick up end-of-life plastics”. The solution implementation is a long process, and a minimum of two years passes between the first contact and putting the machine into operation on site. “I would be very pleased if in 2020 we saw our projects transform into the “proof of concept”, demonstrating that the technological solution is viable and applicable,” adds Marco Simeoni.
More than promises: a Stopover on Rapa Nui in September 2018 During this stopover, an hour-long Beach Clean-Up was organised across four pick-up sites. In this way, 528kg of waste was collected thanks to the efforts of around fifty volunteers alongside the Race for Water teams. From this collection, a statue of a human figure, the world’s 1st Moai, designed entirely from microplastics was created by artist Nano IKA according to an idea driven by Nicolas Yancovic and the local organisation Ka ‘Ara Conciencia Ambiental, all very committed to protecting the environment. Race for Water signed draft agreements with the local authorities as well as the operator managing Rapa Nui’s electricity production and distribution. These key agreements mean that a genuine process can now be set in motion to implement the high-temperature pyrolysis technology “Biogreen 300”, thus enabling the island’s plastics and household waste to be converted into energy with the ultimate aim of providing a sustainable and effective solution by 2020 for Rapa Nui, where today’s daily plastic pollution has a very serious impact.
Watch the video about the Rapa Nui mission:
Watch the video “Plastic is a problem, but it can be part of the solution”:
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