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3D rendering of the plastic-eating ship Seekuh
3D rendering of the plastic-eating ship Seekuh

LÜBECK — The scourge of plastic litter in the oceans is measured in billions of floating tons of pollution, estimated to affect some 40% of the world's waterways. But a solution to this massive environmental problem may be coming from a small shipyard in Northern Germany, where an ingeniously designed catamaran is being built to collect litter from the open ocean waters.

German news agency DPA reports reports from the Lübeck Yacht Trave GmbH shipyard where the catamaran Seekuh ("Manatee") has been commissioned by the One Earth One Ocean association, with plans to start collecting drifting plastic litter this summer.

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War in Ukraine, Day 92: Is Severodonetsk The Next Mariupol?

Russian troops are attempting to encircle Severodonetsk, the last key city remaining under Ukrainian control in the Luhansk region, as Vladimir Putin looks to claim victory in a war that is not going Moscow's way. But will the toll be for civilians?

Inside a shelter in Severodonetsk.

Meike Eijsberg, Shaun Lavelle and Cameron Manley

Severodonetsk, the last key city remaining under Ukrainian control in the Luhansk area, is now the focal point of Russia’s war. In 2014, it had been recaptured from the pro-Russian separatists in a hard-fought battle by Ukrainian forces. Now, eight years later, Moscow is launching an all-out attack to try to take it back again.

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Alex Crawford, a Sky News correspondent in the region, says Russian forces have the means to conquer the city that in normal times has a population of circa 100,000 — and Moscow will be eager to cite it as the “victory”. But, Crawford wrote, “the path to victory comes – like the capture of the port city of Mariupol – strewn with the broken and battered bodies of the city's citizens.”

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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