The cat in the hat
With belts of all shapes and sizes rolling around the world, Habasit is a company that wears many different hats according to the needs of each customer. Our blog has often shared the unusual destinies of our conveyor belts, whether they are providing a more comfortable bed for a cow, or making a moving stage performance at the opera, but wherever they roll, one thing seems clear, our belts often appear when you least expect them. This was the case for one unlucky cat recently stranded at sea off the coast of Istanbul.
But to recount the rescue of this frantic feline on today’s blog, we must first begin seven years ago in the heart of Istanbul, a city with more than a million cats roaming its streets (and sometimes its seas). The most populous city in Turkey (in terms of humans), and one of the largest in the world, this crowded metropolis borders the Bosphorus Strait between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea. With more than twenty rivers flowing through the region’s landscape, the cleanliness of the water is a priority for the people who live there.
A purr-fect solution to water pollution
In July 2011, two local engineers with a background in maritime business founded EPS Marine and Environmental Services, a company that quickly set to work finding new solutions for cleaning the waterways of Istanbul. While providing oil and chemical pollution training in Turkey and around the world, they also began to design boats which could contribute to the water maintenance of their own city. Although they didn’t have cats in mind at the time, they were well aware that each location brings its own unique challenges.
“Sea surface clean-up is everyone’s problem,” explains co-founder Özer Özgeneci, “but it is also a tailor-made business. The conditions of the climate, the sea, even the working hours of a culture are factors which must be considered.”
With this in mind, Özer Özgeneci and his partner Oytun Ulutas sought the most efficient and effective methods for cleaning Istanbul’s waterways. After researching several belt companies, EPS chose Habasit as a partner for their unique boat design.
“You need a company you can rely on when you are beginning the research and development,” says Özgeneci. “It is at the beginning that you must take the biggest risks, so having a good connection with Habasit was important.”
EPS engineers found that Habasit’s flush grid plastic modular belt technology was a perfect fit for the job. Partially submerged off the back of the boat, the strong but lightweight belt removes the trash by conveying it on board while allowing the clean water to filter back into the sea.
Through the development of these boats, the municipality of Istanbul has been able to make water maintenance a service easily available to the public. There is even a city hotline accessible to anyone so that if litter is spotted in the water, no matter how small, a boat can be called to come and pick it up free of charge. Although the boats are designed for the clean-up of small debris, operators have found that they are capable of carrying much more, including floating televisions, dead fish and yes, perhaps you see where this is going, even alive felines.
When the crew of a clean-up boat spotted a cat swimming circles in the sea, they knew exactly what to do. Using a net, they were able to guide her to the conveyor belt of the boat where she rode up the runway to safety. It was an unprecedented example of the unexpected places Habasit belts appear, at land or sea, at the service of creatures of all shapes and sizes.