A United-Kingdom based company that uses technology to detect plastic thrown in oceans, seas and rivers through satellites won the $10,000 best international start-up award at the GITEX Future Stars competition in Dubai.
Satellite VU, a company that uses satellite technology to track the movement of plastic waste through waterways, won the best international start-up category on Thursday, as the winners of the Gitex Future Stars contest were announced on the final day of the Gitex Technology Week exhibition and conference at Dubai World Trade Centre, which ran from 14-18 October.
“What plastic does is it looks like food to the fish, so the fish eat the food... they don’t put on so much weight so they cannot produce so well and so it damages their lives,” Baker said.
“And we don’t know what the plastic is doing to the food chain. So if we are eating the fish, does that mean we are getting some of the pollutant?” he added.
More than eight million tonnes of plastic get leaked to the ocean each year, according to a report published on the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) website.
“Up to 80 percent of all litter in our oceans is made of plastic,” UNEP said on its website.
“According to some estimates, at the rate we are dumping items such as plastic bottles, bags and cups after a single use, by 2050 oceans will carry more plastic than fish and an estimated 99 percent of seabirds will have ingested plastic,” it added.
Earlier this month, the head of the Roman Catholic church, Pope Francis, urged people to come together to stop plastic waste spoiling oceans.
Baker said his company will be able to provide maps with where the plastic is located and monitor its movement. The 53-year-old entrepreneur plans to sell his product to governments and interested entities worldwide, including the United Arab Emirates.
The UAE is one of the most active countries in the Arab region taking action to curb the effects of global warming.
In 2017, the UAE announced plans to reduce its carbon footprint and increase green energy use to 50 percent of total consumption by 2050, according to the country’s official government portal.
Other winners at the GITEX Future Stars event included Lebanese startup Spike- a smartphone app that monitors diabetes, which was crowned GITEX Future Stars' Supernova Champion, securing $100,000 of prize money.
WideBot, an Arabic bot builder platform based in the United States, was named best artificial intelligence (AI) startup; Khayati, a software that helps tailors to market their shops, won best Emirati startup and Oliv – the platform for placing interns formerly known as Interns ME – won best youth startup. A full list of the winners appears here.
(Reporting by Yasmine Saleh; Editing by Michael Fahy)
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