Körber Foundation honors Günther Bonin – “There are no more waters without plastic”

Körber Foundation honors Günther Bonin – “There are no more waters without plastic”

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Körber Foundation honors Günther Bonin – “There are no more waters without plastic”

The oeoo founder receives encore award for his life’s work: Maritime waste collection, microplastic monitoring and education

Munich/Hamburg, June 19, 2024 – In the context of a The Körber Foundation honored Günther Bonin with the 2024 Encore Award for his life’s work at a festive gala in Hamburg-Bergedorf on 13 June. The prize is endowed with 60,000 euros and is awarded to personalities who have built up a company with added social value with 60plus. The award is justified by the foundation as follows: “Günther Bonin (68) from Munich founded the environmental organization One Earth – One Ocean e.V. (oeoo) in 2011 with the aim of ridding the world’s waters of plastic waste, oil and pollutants. Using special innovative waste collection ships, the association collects plastic waste from oceans, rivers and lakes at hotspots, which is then sorted and recycled. In addition, oeoo is involved nationally and internationally in the areas of research, environmental education and documentation and has been an official partner of the UN CleanSeas environmental campaign since 2018.”

Bonin comments: “I would like to thank the Körber Foundation very much for this honor and for the fact that it has been bestowed on me at an age when I will hopefully still have enough time left to continue the fight against plastic waste and microplastics in oceans and waters for as long as possible – because this fight is more necessary than ever.”

In addition to ongoing global waste collection and recycling campaigns, oeoo has been regularly examining water samples in the Atlantic and North Sea for their microplastic content for ten years as part of a microplastic monitoring program led by microbiologist Dr. Rüdiger Stöhr. Supported by the Oldenburg-Portugiesische Dampfschifffahrtsgesellschaft (OPDR), over 1,000 water samples of 20 liters each were taken from container ships on 134 trips between Hamburg and the Canary Islands and tested for microplastics in the association’s own laboratory in Kiel. In the first few years, 73% of the samples contained microplastics; the proportion is now 94%. The largest proportion of plastic parts comes from the packaging and coating industry. An ever-increasing proportion is made up of fibers, from which modern clothing is made. The results of the measurements are shown in the Microplastic Pollution Map (MPPM) at https://oneearth-oneocean.com/unsere-projekte/microplastic-pollution-map/ in an interactive nautical chart. Günther Bonin summarizes the results: “Ten years of our research show beyond doubt that the situation has continued to deteriorate. There is no longer a body of water without plastic.”

About one earth – one ocean e. V. (oeoo)

The non-profit environmental organization one earth – one ocean e.V.(oeoo), based in Munich and with offices in Kiel, Battambang/Cambodia, Manila/Philippines and Rio/Brazil, has been pursuing the goal of ridding the world’s waters of plastic waste since 2011. The multi-stage “Maritime Waste Disposal” concept for eliminating coastal marine pollution caused by plastic waste envisages – in addition to processing land-based plastic waste – collecting the plastic from waters around the world using a fleet of special waste collection ships and then recycling it on recycling ships such as the SeeElefant. Projects to remove plastic waste from bodies of water are currently underway in Cambodia, Brazil, Indonesia, the Philippines, Uganda and Egypt. Specially designed waste collection ships called SeeHamster and SeeKuh are used for this purpose. From 2026, the first “SeeElefant”, a converted multi-purpose freighter that will have systems for sorting, shredding, processing and pressing marine waste on board, will be the first pilot system for a waste recycling ship. As soon as industrial-scale plastics-to-fuel plants are available, plastic will also be converted back into sulphur-free oil directly on board. The association is also involved nationally and internationally in research into microplastics as well as educational and awareness-raising work and documentation on the subject of marine litter. Back in 2013, oeoo won the prestigious GreenTec Award, Europe’s largest environmental and business prize, for its maritime waste collection concept. In 2019, the association received the Federal Ecodesign Award from the Federal Ministry for the Environment for its SeeElefant waste recycling ship concept. Further information about oeoo and its current projects can be found at www.oeoo.world .

About the encore price

Improving the world is possible at any age. Every year, the Körber Foundation awards the Encore Prize to three personalities over 60 who have used entrepreneurial means to find solutions to the social challenges of our time and have built up a social enterprise. The encore prize is endowed with 60,000 euros each. The focus is on people whose initiatives show that experience and innovation, retirement and new beginnings, age and social impact complement each other productively. Further information on the prize and former award winners can be found at https://koerber-stiftung.de/projekte/zugabe-preis/

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