A Newcastle student has launched an innovative business to help save the world’s oceans from the perils of pollution.

Nathan Smith, 21 – a second-year Entrepreneurial Business Management (EBM) student at Northumbria University – has established a start-up that aims to reduce the problems caused by ghostnets and pollution from plastics and other rubbish.

Ghostnets are nets that are lost at sea or discarded by fishermen. Ghostnets can entangle animals such as dolphins, turtles, sharks, seabirds, crocodiles and fish, often leading to suffocation, starvation, injuries and infections.

Plastic pollution is also a huge problem for the world’s oceans. The Pacific Ocean supports an area of floating plastic particles twice the size of Texas and it is estimated that one million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed by plastic pollution each year.

Nathan’s innovative business idea is to gather up ghostnets and turn them into bracelets. Money from the sales of the bracelets will then be used to finance beach clean-ups on the UK’s coasts.

This will mean fewer ghostnets in the sea and less plastics and other rubbish being washed off beaches and back into the ocean.

Nathan had the idea to start his company, OceanJunkie, during a trip to Thailand. Nathan was struck by the amount of plastics and litter on the beaches and wondered what he could do to help make beaches cleaner and raise awareness of ocean pollution.

Nathan said, “OceanJunkie is a start-up business dedicated to helping to fight the world’s plastic problem. We upcycle ghostnets into bracelets with a mission to save marine life and give them back their ocean.”

“Every bracelet purchased represents a marine life saved from a tragic death. We want to rid the world of ghostnets and hope the awareness we raise through people buying our bracelets and supporting the OceanJunkie movement will help bring in regulations for the proper disposal of fishing gear.”

“My vision is to reinvest profits into supporting beach clean-ups across the country, ensuring groups have the funds to purchase the tools they need, as well as donating money to support the important work of the Marine Conservation Society.”

The bracelets are handmade in Britain from nets that have been pulled out of the sea. Because all nets are slightly different, every bracelet is unique.

The bracelets are available in three colours and can be purchased online for £5, plus postage and packing.

For more information, please visit OceanJunkie’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/junkieocean/. You can also follow @JunkieOcean on Instagram.

Dr Alex Hope, an associate professor of business ethics at Northumbria University, said, “Northumbria University is committed to promoting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals through our research, teaching and enterprise activities.”

“I am delighted that Nathan’s business will help us in this mission and highlight the real problem of plastics in the marine environment and proud that our EBM programme is helping to create responsible and sustainable businesses.”

(Featured image courtesy of Krisztina.Konczos from Flickr Creative Commons)

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