Meet the boy who is saving our oceans6 min readReading Time: 5 minutes
When you look at our planet from space, it looks so blue!
That’s because the oceans cover 70% of the Earth’s population. It sustains all life on Earth, and June 8th is a day to remember this beautiful expanse of blue on our planet. World Oceans Day is celebrated on June 8 to inform the public about the impact of their actions on oceans. The theme for this year is “The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods”. And Owliver met with the blue warrior, Haaziq Kazi, to celebrate this important day!
Haaziq Kazi is a 15-year-old inventor from Pune, India. One of the youngest speakers at TEDx, he is known for his project, Ervis, a ship that clears the oceans of plastic waste. He is also the co-founder of the Ervis Foundation, a foundation committed to creating a platform for discussions and action on plastic waste consumption in the world.
Let’s get to know more about this trailblazer, shall we?
The beginning of his journey
It started when I was in fourth grade. This is when I had watched a few documentaries on plastic menace, and how it affects the marine ecosystem. A million marine animals and 100,000 sea creatures die every year because of plastic consumption. When animals consume plastic, it fills up their stomach. They feel full when in reality they are not. This is how they die of starvation.
And there is no shortage of plastic. 5 million pieces of plastic are just floating in our oceans. That’s when I felt that I have to do something about it. Around the same time, there were these clubs in my school called the TED Ed Clubs. These clubs were meant to help students strive to find solutions to the many problems of the world. And this is when I came up with the ship called Ervis.
It works in the way a whirlpool in your sink might work!
It uses the same mechanism to capture waste and use it in chambers in the ship.
I was called to speak at the TED Ed weekend in New York to talk about my ship. That is how it all started!
Here’s his talk:
How did he set up Ervis?
While I was travelling delivering talks on plastic waste and its impact on the oceans, I realised that people want to do something against the problem. They wanted to come up with ideas of their own and spread messages about plastic waste crisis. That is when we set up the Ervis Foundation to bring about a generational change in the the way the youth of today consumes plastics. It became a stage to educate the youth about the problem, and give them a platform to work against it.
We started educational initiatives to work on plastic waste crisis through workshops. We went to individual schools to talk about it. When the world turned virtual, we turned these workshops to online modules called Blue Circles. Blue Circles are more discussion based where students talk amongst themselves in the presence of a guest mentor.
Students who are part of the circle created their own clubs, called Blue Warrior clubs.
We also have a zero-waste market place where we sell environment-friendly products. We also have an application that calculates the plastic footprint of an individual.
Now, we are working towards creating an incubation lab for Ervis ship, our moonchild ideas, and other moonchild ideas of other students, and changemakers.
What does he regard as his biggest achievement?
The most humbling part of all these efforts is to see people bring a change within themselves. We are going to inherit this Earth, and so far it’s not looking too good for us but we can get our act together!
Even if I can change one person’a perspective, I regard it as an achievement.
What keeps him motivated?
Seeing the change brought on by the people I have worked with motivates me. Also, seeing the impact these changes bring about in the community motivates me. I particularly enjoy the Blue Circles because I get to interact with people I know and see them brainstorm and bring about change in their everyday!
How does he unwind?
A lot of times, people forget that I am still a kid! I like to watch TV, play video games, read, and sleep. I also enjoy parkour. Balancing is the way to go!
Who inspires him?
There is a quote by Mahatma Gandhi that is very dear to me— “Be the change you wish to see in the world“.
I truly believe in it. You have to walk the talk. That’s really important to me no matter what you are doing. Sometimes even I find it hard for myself to avoid plastic, because it is everywhere. Our clothes and stationery are all made of plastic. But at least one can take some steps to avoid it. I try to embody the ideas I believe in. This quote gets me going.
You can also find the quote in his email signature.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself working against the plastic crisis through my organisation, making Ervis ship a reality, and realising my other moonchild ideas. I am passionate about math, science, and computers. I am very academically oriented so I will love to pursue further studies in a field I like. Mostly, I see myself trying to bring about a change in how we consume plastic.
And here’s Haaziq’s message for our readers:
Haaziq’s journey just reminds us that it is the little steps that make all the difference. After all, all oceans are made up of tiny drops. Each effort counts!
Happy World Oceans Day!