Imagine the noise of a bustling Indian city fading away as you journey towards the serene coastline. The salty air fills your lungs, the sound of waves crashing against the shore resonates in your ears, and the sight of the vast blue ocean stretches as far as your eyes can see. But as you look closer, the ocean's surface isn't just water—it's littered with plastic. This horrifying scene isn't dystopian fiction. It's a horrific reality that a young boy from Pune, India, named Haaziq Kazi, is fighting to change.
An Early Awakening
Born on 8th April 2006, Haaziq Kazi was a middle-school student with an extraordinary passion for marine life. While most kids his age were busy with video games and homework, Haaziq was drawn into the world of documentaries about the ocean's plight. One particular incident struck a chord with the young boy. He watched, heartbroken, as a whale washed up on the shores of the northern Netherlands, its stomach bloated with trash—37 pounds of plastic, two hose pipes, and a 9-meter rope. The whale's cause of death was intestinal blockage. This horrifying event triggered a realization in Haaziq about the enormous scale of the plastic waste crisis and its devastating impact on marine life.
A Vision Takes Shape
Not one to sit idle, Haaziq set about finding a solution. Drawing inspiration from the simple mechanism of a sink draining water, he began designing a prototype—ERVIS, a ship that could clean the plastic waste from the ocean's surface. The image of a vessel with multiple saucers creating a whirlpool to draw in waste, and filter it based on its size and type took shape in his mind. The concept was simple yet powerful, a testament to the young boy's ingenuity and determination.
The ERVIS Project
ERVIS, as Haaziq describes it, "is essentially a large boat powered by hydrogen and renewable natural gas with various compartments and saucers surrounding it". The saucers, floating on the surface, create a whirlpool to draw the waste towards its centre. The waste is then swallowed by a central outlet, passed through a tube, and sorted into various chambers based on its size and type. There are separate chambers for oil and for large, medium, small, and micro waste.
The ERVIS project was built upon three core principles:
Phase 1: Clean the current waste floating in the ocean.
Phase 2: Analyze the data from the waste that ERVIS collected to isolate major pollutants and their respective sources.
Phase 3: Stop waste disposal at the source, which is getting disposed by pollutants in oceans.
From Classroom to TEDx Stage
Haaziq's innovative vision transcended the boundaries of his school project, winning him accolades and recognition far and wide. He became one of the youngest presenters at TEDx, sharing his journey of ERVIS and the peril of plastic pollution with the world. Media outlets began to take notice, dubbing him a 'child prodigy' and covering his innovative approach to tackle the ocean's plastic problem.
Amplifying the Cause
Having created a solution to clean the oceans, Haaziq didn't stop there. He took on the role of an advocate, using numerous platforms such as TED ED New York, TEDxGateway Mumbai, TedxJGEC, VJTI college, TedxICEM, and the Economic Times Global Business Summit to raise awareness about the danger of plastic pollution. He emphasized the magnitude of the plastic waste problem, how it is affecting life in general, including humans, and his solution—ERVIS.
Today, at 17 years old, Haaziq's journey has evolved from being an innovator to a vocal proponent of a circular economy. He is working tirelessly to create viable solutions to mitigate the inefficiencies in our current consumption of plastic. Haaziq is also in the process of establishing an awareness campaign and NGO, fostering the youth of today to drive change for a sustainable world.
His latest venture took him to Mexico, where he observed the local community dealing with an algae bloom crisis. He plans to tackle this relatively unknown problem, applying the same spirit of innovation and activism that led to the creation of ERVIS.
The Future is Now
Haaziq Kazi's story is a testament to the power of youthful determination and innovation. His passion for marine life and his drive to solve the plastic waste problem have led to a significant contribution to the fight against ocean pollution. Haaziq's work reminds us that it's never too early, or too late, to start making a difference. He is an inspiration for his peers and for future generations, proving that every effort counts, no matter how small it may seem. As Haaziq himself says, "Start small. Try to bring about that small change. And as long as you try, who knows, you might succeed."
As we reflect on Haaziq's journey, let's also take a moment to gaze at the vast expanse of the ocean once more. Imagine a future where the water is clear, where marine life thrives, and where the only things that wash up on shore are waves and seashells. This is the world that Haaziq Kazi is fighting for—a world where the ocean is free from plastic, a world where we live in harmony with nature.