A CBD resident aiming to eliminate waterway pollution has been receiving international recognition.
Ludovic Grosjean was named one of six Young Innovator Rotary People of Action last year and in November presented his work to the United Nations in Kenya.
“They flew me to Kenya and I had the chance to speak in front of 1000 people,” Mr Grosjean said.
“I always take my yellow diving fins to conferences and carry them around with me. It makes people remember that I’m the one that does ocean technology and they come and talk to me.”
Mr Grosjean said his company, OceanX Group, combined his two areas of expertise – engineering and oceanography – to tackle the issue of pollution.
The company operates in two fields: consulting for a variety of stakeholders, including local councils, as well as research and technology development.
Mr Grosjean said the point was to target pollution “at the source”.
We don’t want to wait for the pollution to get there, we want to stop it before that,” he said.
But his first “mini-business” was just Mr Grosjean and his fins in the harbours of France, where he is originally from.
“People in the harbours got stuck because of pollution. There was a lot of plastic and when they turned on their propellers all the garbage got stuck,” he said.
“I would bring my equipment and work in the harbours collecting the pollution and I discovered how much of an impact it was having.”
“Do we want coral growing around plastic bottles? When I was in Africa I snorkelled in places where you would think it was the most untouched place and there’s coral everywhere, but it’s surrounded in plastic.”
The immensity of the problem dwarfed the capabilities of an individual diver and this lead to Mr Grosjean’s current solution model.
Through compiling data, an autonomous monitoring system is developed that shows what kind of pollution enters what area at what times and from where.
The second part, Mr Grosjean said, was “social”.
“You need a team of local people in each area putting in impact to avoid the pollution in the first place,” he said.
Mr Grosjean refers to this as community power.
His team has run a number of local initiatives, much of it to clean up the Yarra River, including oBike-fishing events.
He said the trick to his company’s success was combining the technology and social sides.
“People do technology, people do social, but nobody does both,” he said.
Mr Grosjean and his team would focus on the Yarra again for CleanUp Australia Day on Sunday, March 3.
Get involved here: oceanxgroup.org