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He is determined to turn the tide against ocean pollution

By Priya.Kothari@timesgroup.com | Sep 11, 2023

Haaziq Kazi has designed a prototype of a ship that can suck out plastic waste from the oceans. The TOI #Unstoppable21 jury has picked the 17-year-old from Maharashtra as one of the Unstoppable 21 Indians under 21 years

Seventeen-year-old Haaziq Kazi has a vision of cleansing our oceans of plastic waste. In pursuit of this goal, the teenager has designed the prototype of a ship that can suck out plastic waste from the oceans using centripetal force.

“My prototype is like a large vacuum cleaner with tubes connected to large dust bags,” Haaziq says.

According to Unesco, plastic waste makes up about 80% of all marine pollution, and around 8 to 10 million metric tonnes of plastic ends up in the oceans each year. Research states that, by 2050, plastic will likely outweigh all fish in the sea.

Haaziq explains how the idea struck him. “Once while washing my hands, I noticed the swirl of water swishing down the drain, and I knew what could be done. I drew a ship with saucers attached to it and named it ERVIS,” he says.

Haaziq’s parents, Nilofer and Sarfaraz Kazi, encouraged him to pursue this dream. “As a child, Haaziq was always curious. He asked questions and was extremely persuasive. Failure did not deter him,” his father says. 

He did well in academics and also excelled in extra-curricular activities. He started playing the piano at the age of four and was a speedcuber who took 13 seconds to solve the Rubik’s Cube, his parents say.

Haaziq, who is from Pune, is now studying in the US and is researching ways to build a working prototype of the ERVIS.

“Haaziq was with us till class 9 before moving overseas. He was a bright child and always wanted to try new things,” says Sandeep Chhabra, the principal of Indus International School in Pune.

Haaziq has a three-tier plan to suck out plastic waste from the seas – to segregate it, analyse the collected waste, and prevent ocean pollution. 

ERVIS will be powered by solar and renewable energy, he says. He designed the schematic prototype with help from some scientists and researchers.

“It will have saucers that will float on the surface, gravitate to create a whirlpool and pull waste towards its centre. This waste will be segregated into large, medium, small, and microplastic waste via tubes connected to various storage centres and repurposed into other products,” Haaziq says, adding that the filtered water can be pumped back into the ocean.

However, the bright idea is facing challenges. “Things are a bit slow on ERVIS right now as funding is an issue,” he says.

Sarfaraz adds, “Making a ship can cost millions of dollars. The question that is on Haaziq’s mind now is – how can waste collection be monetised? That’s the reason he has been meeting venture capitalists and experts to understand more.”    

Meanwhile, Haaziq has started a foundation to work on behavioural change by educating the youth. ERVIS Foundation educates people about the threats faced by the marine ecosystem. It also provides a platform for sharing views on the environment. 

The foundation conducts workshops, conclaves, and talk shows where experts discuss issues affecting the marine ecosystem.

Haaziq is also concerned about sargassum (algae) affecting the marine ecosystem. “I am also working on an incubator of ideas and robotics-based projects like building an underwater vehicle that works like a drone for research,” he says.

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