Published: Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Race for Water Foundation has concluded its visit to the 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP21) where it presented its solutions programme against plastic water pollution at Le Bourget, the Grand Palais and aboard the largest solar-powered vessel in the world Race for Water.

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Representatives of the foundation have been in Paris since late November with the ambassador vessel, taking part in a number of events and conferences throughout COP21.

These conferences were allowed to bring the message of the urgency to act to preserve our oceans. The foundation also inaugurated the “Plastic Pollution: From Impact to Solutions” exhibition onboard the foundation’s flagship, displaying its solutions programme and pilot projects to be launched from 2016 on. 

Inspired by the principles of social entrepreneurship, the foundation plans to prevent waste from entering waterways by giving it a value through an innovative technology that transforms waste into electricity.

This model generates social, environmental and economic benefits and several coastal cities are already interested to implement it as of next year.

“Race for Water is an amazing tool to attract public and media attention to our cause and our message,” says Foundation President Marco Simeoni. “It is a very versatile vessel which allows the foundation to present innovative solutions that give end of life plastic a value, to raise awareness, and to host scientists studying plastic pollution in the marine environment. She is therefore an exceptional scientific and communication platform for the foundation, a unique tool to shine a spotlight on the cause.”

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During its stay in Paris, the foundation also presented the ‘Collector’, a prototype boat that can collect macro waste in bays, lakes and rivers.

The prototype was developed by MOD SA and the Naval Industrie Lorientaise boatyard on behalf of Race for Water Foundation and has a cleaning capacity of 5,000m2 per hour with a yield of 500kg/hour. Waste absorbed at the front of the vessel travels to deck level on a conveyor belt before being stored in containers. Portable and versatile, the ‘Collector’ meets the needs of the community and the cleaning companies no matter the expanse of water. This vessel contributes greatly to the pioneering solutions the Race for Water Foundation wants to action in 2016.

Following this Parisian stopover, Race for Water Foundation welcomed Race for Water Captain Gérard d’Aboville and triple Olympic Gold medallist Tony Estanguet to the organisation as ambassadors. As a member of the Sport and Environment Commission of the International Olympic Committee, Tony Estanguet describes the motives behind his commitment:

"As a former high-level athlete, water has been my daily and favorite playground for over 25 years. It is therefore with great pleasure and pride that I now commit myself alongside the Race for Water Foundation to preserve the resource that changed my life. When Marco Simeoni presented his project to me, I was immediately wowed by his constructive and solutions driven approach. I hope I can also contribute to the success of this amazing project through my ambassador role."

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Both ambassadors will promote the foundation’s cause during future missions to prevent the plastic pollution of water. 

With COP21 in its wake, Race for Water is currently en route to Lorient, France where she is expected to arrive before Christmas. The flagship will be based there until the 2016 campaign to implement pilot projects that counter plastic pollution, starting from March 2016.