A 16-year-old Dubai student Akshansh Khrodia – who is also a licensed master scuba diver – has created a homemade sustainable lift-bag that can help lift garbage from the sea-bed easily and efficiently.
After getting his scuba diver licence a couple of years back, the teenager developed a passion to preserve the natural beauty he saw underwater and he launched his own local undersea clean-up initiative called sea.me.and.dive.
“We started conducting undersea clean-ups from September 2019 and the active pursuit to create a homemade sustainable lift-bag has been going on since May 2019. My aim was not only to preserve the environment in which we dive but also to improve the effectiveness of undersea clean-ups. That led to the creation of the home-made lift-bag device that operates like an underwater air balloon that can carry weights up to 12-15kg. Throughout the summer of 2019, I conducted multiple tests using my different designs for a homemade lift-bag in a controlled pool environment and in an uncontrolled environment out at sea at a depth of 26 metres.
“The homemade lift-bag is made by reusing shoelaces and a large waste bag and attaching a carabiner hook to the end of the bag. This makes the lift-bag easily compatible with the pockets in our BCD jackets as it can be easily rolled up. My adaptation of the lift-bag allows us to send our collected waste to the surface without ascending from the sea bed, and continue collecting trash. This hugely improves our efficiency with minimal waste of oxygen and without constantly resurfacing which can cause health issues,” said Akshansh, who has now completed 65 scuba dives.
“My inspiration for creating my lift-bags came after I completed my underwater search and recovery specialist programme. In search and recovery, often very large industrial lift-bags are used to bring up objects which we have recovered from the ocean.
While they operate in the same manner, these lift-bags are much harder to control due to their size and buoyancy and are not easily foldable. Additionally, these refined commercial lift-bags are very expensive sometimes, ranging between Dh750 and Dh1,500. On the other hand, my simple homemade adaptation can be created using materials found at home, which usually can cost up to Dh15-20 per lift-bag.
Akshansh was speaking about his initiative at a webinar organised by Smile with Alternatives to Plastic (Swap) group that is affiliated to the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) and organises activities/workshops to create awareness to reduce plastic use and opt for eco-friendly options to save the environment. At the webinar, the group hosted the youngster to create awareness on the quantity and quality of garbage that reaches the seas and oceans from our homes.
This article first appeared on Khaleej Times on 20 June, 2020