In April 2020, Ichthion was chosen as one of the nine members that form up the Clean Currents Coalition of the Benioff Ocean Initiative and the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), the first and largest global network that works for the care and protection of maritime currents.
After a deep analysis of the river characteristics, we defined that the system should be installed in the Portoviejo River, which flows into the Pacific Ocean, transporting 53% of the population’s pollution. One of the primary sources of contamination of this important river is the final disposal of solid waste.
Waste trapped in our floating barrier on the Portoviejo River
Azure - floating barrier
Azure implementation process is being done under a strategic alliance with the local government. This project will undoubtedly have a positive effect on public health and environmental conservation. In addition, it will allow us to protect one of the most important natural heritages in the world, the Galapagos Islands. It is estimated that 33% of the plastics that reach the archipelago come from the continent through currents, directly affecting marine fauna.
In July 2021, Azure arrived in Ecuador to be installed in the Portoviejo River and to start the testing phase that has been successfully overcome.
The first milestone of several additional ones has been marked within the crusade to reduce plastic pollution in Ecuadorian rivers; for this reason, Azure can be transported to different locations in the country once its work in a specific place is completed. Additionally, the system is designed to be manufactured locally, thus generating production and innovation opportunities in the country.
Azure's arrival in Ecuador to be installed in the Portoviejo River
Cleanup in Crucita Beach, Manabí
In addition to cleaning the Portoviejo River,
the project contemplates the development of community outreach actions to generate awareness and commitment to the care of water sources.
Cleanup in the Portoviejo Riverbank.
The plastic waste that will be intercepted from the Portoviejo River and, on the other hand, those collected by the recyclers will be managed under the “EcoWork” model. This model focuses on revaluing plastic waste turning it into suitable raw material for re-entering the production chain and develop new products. Ichthion develops it in collaboration with Fundación Circular to amplify the social impact the NGO is already working in Ecuador. EcoWork also seeks to improve the working conditions of recyclers, create employment sources, and incorporate other key actors involved in the waste management chain towards sustainable development and the Circular Economy approach.
Ichthion plans to place at least 11 Azure systems in the Ecuadorian rivers to stop the flow of plastics that reaches the Galapagos Islands.
Plastic pollution in the country affects the environment, people's health and even loss of employment sources, as is the case in Puná Island. Therefore, the company's expansion plan points to its second operations site in Guayas.