Plastic Waste-To-Energy Workshop on board Race For Water
On June first, a Plastic Waste to Energy workshop was organized on board the Race for Water vessel. One of the key goals of the Race for Water Odyssey is to raise awareness and promote concrete solutions against plastic pollution in the ocean during each stopover. Our ambassador vessel is currently in Bermuda and hosted its first meeting on board to discuss this crucial topic.
The workshop gathered local business leaders, Government technical officers, members of relevant Non-Governmental Organizations and Race for Water experts together to talk about plastic waste and how it is possible to turn it into energy.
Sylvan Richards, Bermudian Minister of the Environment was welcomed by Marco Simeoni, president of Race for Water. Minister Richards stated that Government is working to fulfill a Throne Speech initiative this year by publishing a Green Paper on the problem of plastics in our environment. He also announced that the government is currently working on a plastic bag ban.
“The aim is to reduce the use of, and the toxic effects of, plastics on our land and in our surrounding waters. About 80% of marine debris is made up of plastic, with the equivalent of a dump truck full of plastic entering the ocean every minute,” Marco Simeoni said.
“Every time I look at our beautiful pink sand I have to see too much pink plastic. Plastic is everywhere. On an island that prides itself on its natural beauty and its proud conservation history, plastic has become a threat to marine ecosystems and could pose an economic and health threat through potential contamination of the food chain. Although plastic has proved to be a global problem, the solution must be local.”, declared the Minister.
Marco Simeoni, Founder and President of Race for Water presenting the Foundation's projects
After a guided visit of the boat and a general presentation of the Foundation, Olivier Lepez, CEO of R4W’s technical partner ETIA, presented its Biogreen® technology which allows to transform mixed types of plastics into gas or electricity. This technology is a key element in Race for Water (R4W) strategy to create a profitable value chain for plastic waste in order to stop leakage into the environment and ultimately in water streams. Serge Pittet, director of R4W, described the action plan for a larger scale deployment and the objectives in terms of environmental, social and economic impacts. Nice discussions emerged between attendees which were all really keen to find ways to preserve their beautiful islands.
Race for Water presentation was followed by 4 external interventions. Dr. Geoff Smith, Environmental Engineer in Bermudian Department of Environment and Natural Resources, talked about local environment policies and regulatory considerations. Nasir Wade, Project Engineer of Tynes Bay Waste to Energy Facility, presented an historic overview of waste management in Bermuda and the strategic choices that are made to provide solutions to a growing issue. Anne Hyde, then presented the amazing job her NGO “Keep Bermuda Beautiful” is doing. The Marine Debris Task Force they put together with various local organizations aims to promote awareness of the impact of marine debris on oceans, coastlines and marine life, to assess the quantity of marine debris stranding on Bermuda’s coastline and to develop advocacy initiatives to reduce Bermuda’s contributions to the marine debris problem.
Stratton Hatfield, Director of Development, BE Solar concluded with the presentation of the large scale Solar PV installation at National Museum of Bermuda. The idea was to share on a success story of a project implementation with important environmental, social and economic impact.
Marco Simeoni and The Hon. Sylvan D. Richards, Minister of the Environment of Bermuda
“We hope to be able to forge a lasting relationship with the Race for Water Foundation as we develop effective policies for combating plastics that are filling our oceans,” said Minister Richards. “We can no longer regard the problem of ocean plastics as an academic exercise. We only need to go to the shoreline to see the evidence for ourselves.”
Race for Water pursues its mission in Bermuda and will host middle and high school students from 8 June to 13 June. These visits will increase awareness of the growing epidemic of plastic pollution in our oceans, and explore some innovative ways in which we can begin to heal our oceans and improve our prospects for generations to come.