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The winners were publicly announced at the official Independence Day celebration at the Ambassador’s residence on Thursday, June 28.
Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) students Emilie Dahl, Jonas Hopsdal, Ingeborg Lie Monsås, Fredrik Samdal Solberg and Sindre Sætre Hammerlund are awarded the 2018 Ambassador of the United States of America’s Young Eagles Award in recognition of their entrepreneurial spirit and technological creativity in seeking a solution to marine plastic pollution.
The group’s award winning project to remove plastics from rivers before they reach the ocean has received a great deal of attention nationally.
“The U.S. Embassy in Oslo wants to recognize the sustainable innovation and technological accomplishments of this group of talented NTNU students. The United States shares the global concerns regarding marine debris, micro plastics, and the growing stream of mismanaged solid waste, and is committed to lead action to address these issues bilaterally and in international fora”, states the Embassy.
The United States is working to encourage technological innovation in the waste sector, to spur new infrastructure investment and private sector engagement, to collaborate in scientific research, to promote market solutions, and to raise public awareness about the threats of unmanaged waste and marine debris.
The Ambassador’s Award and the Young Eagles Award are the result of Ambassador Kenneth J. Braithwaite’s desire to honor and highlight extraordinary individuals who have significantly contributed and will continue to contribute to the shared priorities between the United States of America and Norway.
The Young Eagles Award honors and recognizes those who have demonstrated great potential to contribute in the future, encouraging them to continue their efforts while recognizing what they have already accomplished.
“The award is not focused on achievements. It is geared to those who can use the recognition to further advance their careers and efforts to meet shared priorities between Norway and the United States”, states the US. Embassy.
Ambassador Braithwaite initiated both awards in 2018. Each award comes with a glass plaque as well as a diploma with a short justification.
The winner of Kongsberg ’s and NTNU’s Your Extreme 2017 competition, suggest a three-fold solution to the problem of plastic pollution:
10 rivers carry 90 % of plastic found in the world’s oceans. By using a gate arm collecting garbage before it reaches the oceans, the student has calculated a reduction of 330,000 tons of garbage each year using the Chinese Yangtze river as an example.
This concept include automated sorting of the garbage retrieved from the river, using existing technology.
The plastic retrieved from the rivers can be shipped to processing plants using empty containers onboard container ships. As much as 10 % of the containers return empty, and the student suggest using this capacity to transport the waste collected.
Small particles of plastic in the oceans is a huge problem. 90 % off all seabirds has swallowed plastic, according to studies. Using autonomous underwater drones, the students has suggested a solution where micro plastics are being collected and separated from microscopic marine life.