Volvo, Living Seawall

Using 3D printing technology, Volvo helped replace sea walls with sea-life-affirming tiles that encourage ocean biodiversity.

One garbage truck of plastic enters the world’s oceans every minute, and more than half of Sydney’s shoreline is artificial. Rich, vibrant habitats have been replaced with seawalls and degraded by plastic pollution. The Volvo Ocean Race has been hosting beach clean-ups all over the world to help combat plastic pollution. But while they’re important, beach clean-ups alone aren’t enough to save our oceans.

That’s why Volvo partnered with the Sydney Institute of Marine Science and Reef Design Lab to create the Living Seawall. Designed to mimic the root structure of native mangrove trees, the Living Seawall adds complexity to the existing seawall structure and provides a habitat for marine life. This aids biodiversity and attracts filter-feeding organisms that actually absorb and filter out pollutants – such as particulate matter and heavy metals – keeping the water ‘clean’. The more organisms we have, the cleaner the water. There’s a Swedish word, omtanke, that means ‘caring’ and ‘consideration’. That’s what the Living Seawall is all about.