Norwegian billionaire giving away most of his fortune to save our ocean from plastic

A former-fisherman-turned-billionaire from Norway known for being a ruthless businessman now says he plans to give most of his wealth away.

Kjell Inge Roekke is the tenth-richest man in Norway, with a net worth over $2 billion. In an interview with Oslo’s Aftenposen newspaper published Tuesday, he revealed plans to bequeath his holdings in ways that can benefit society, starting with a state-of-the-art ship that will perform marine research and also remove up to five tons of plastic a day from the ocean and melt it down.

The impact of plastic in our oceans is enormous. For instance whales entangled in derelict fishing gear can endure a slow, painful progression to death over months to years. Dolphins that strand on our beaches, in some areas more than 70 per cent have been found to have ingested debris.

He wants to build a 596-foot vessel, called the REV, that will clean 5 tons of plastic trash daily from waters and then melt it down , Norway’s Aftenposten newspaper reported. It would be large enough to travel around the world to make autonomous expeditions gathering trash and measuring the ocean’s health

More than five trillion pieces of plastic are already in the oceans, and by 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish, by weight, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

“There is no doubt that the oceans are filling up rapidly with plastics and the problem is that the majority of it isn’t just floating around on the surface. It’s actually disintegrating and separating into much smaller pieces and so-called microplastics, and this is the real hidden problem that we really need to try and get to.

“The microplastics in the oceans aren’t just originating from plastic bags. It’s coming from our fleece sweaters, it’s coming from Q-Tips, it’s coming from soccer fields. We’re basically surrounding ourselves in plastics.”

The plastic trash affects animals big and small.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *