MAS Holdings Ocean Strainer was named a finalist in the Water category as a part of the Fast Company’s 2022 World Changing Ideas Awards. The ‘Ocean Strainer’ is a pilot floating trash trap installed in the Dehiwala canal in Colombo, Sri Lanka and has expanded to eight other locations through open-source partnerships across the country since its inception in August 2020.
Research showed that rivers and canals are the sources of 80% of the plastic that reaches the ocean. Therefore, the team at MAS Holdings needed to address the marine plastic issue at the source by trapping and removing the waste before it reaches the ocean. The result was the Ocean Strainer, a barrier made from a buoyant foam and canvas that floats across the length of the canal and traps plastic waste before reaching the ocean through the canal mouth.
The waste is collected daily by an appointed resource person from the community along the canal, and project partners, Clean Ocean Force and the local Provincial Council support the collection and disposal of garbage. With 100 km of the canal network in Sri Lanka, canals provided an opportunity to develop an innovative yet simple solution that could be low cost and easily replicated across locations to create greater impact.
Now in its sixth year, the World Changing Ideas Awards showcase 39 winners, 350 finalists, and more than 600 honourable mentions—with climate, social justice, and AI and data among the most popular categories.
A panel of eminent Fast Company editors and reporters selected winners and finalists from a pool of more than 2,997 entries across transportation, education, food, politics, technology, health, social justice, and more. In addition, several new categories have been added this year, including climate, nature, water, and workplace. The 2022 awards feature entries from across the globe, from Switzerland to Hong Kong to Australia.
Fast Company’s Summer 2022 issue (on newsstands May 10, 2022) will showcase some of the world’s most inventive entrepreneurs and companies tackling global challenges. The issues highlight, among others, probiotics for coral reefs, easy-to-assemble kit homes for refugees or disaster survivors, a 3D printed vaccine patch, an electric truck, a system to heat homes from the waste heat of a name-brand factory, and prosecutor-initiated resentencing for overly long prison sentences.
“We are thrilled to have the MAS Ocean Strainer be recognized as one of Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas. Coming from an island nation where the beaches have been our childhood playground, all of us at MAS feel very strongly about our responsibility to address the issue of marine plastic pollution,” says Sid Amalean, Head of Sustainable Business at MAS Holdings.
“Our team has worked for a number of years with amazing partners who have helped us come up with an affordable, scalable solution, which we are proud to share with anyone who wants to replicate this in any part of the world. We are strong believers of collaborative value creation and are nowlooking at creating recycled polyester from the plastic waste that we collect through the Ocean Strainers to use in upcoming collections for our customers.”
“We are consistently inspired by the novelty and creativity that people are applying to solve some of our society’s most pressing problems, from shelter to the climate crisis. Fast Company relishes its role in amplifying important, innovative work to address big challenges,” says David Lidsky, interim editor-in-chief of Fast Company.