29 June 2017
Think Beyond Plastic and UN Environment Launch Innovation Challenge on Marine Litter
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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UN Environment and Think Beyond Plastic launched a global innovation challenge for university students to develop solutions to marine litter.

Winners will receive support to help their solutions become commercially viable.

28 June 2017: UN Environment (UNEP) and Think Beyond Plastic launched an innovation challenge for university students to develop the next generation of solutions to marine litter. The challenge invites students to submit proposals related to engineering and design, communications, economics, and prediction and recovery. Sustainable Development Goal target 14.1 calls for by 2025, the prevention and significant reduction of marine pollution of all kinds.

According to UN Environment, eight million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean every year. This plastic pollution threatens the survival of fish and other marine resources, destroys coastal and marine ecosystems and endangers human health by entering the food chain.

Engineering and design entries could include innovations in materials, packaging design, manufacturing processes and other fields that result in a measurable reduction in marine plastic. The communication category aims to raise awareness and inspire public action against marine litter through various communication platforms and products, including mobile apps and innovative storytelling. Entries in the economic category can include innovative methodologies to develop new business and financial models to address market failures or to assess the economic impact of plastic pollution. Prediction and recovery entries focus on developing analytical tools to better capture and monitor data about plastic pollution and propose solutions.

The deadline for entries is 6 October 2017. Winners will be announced at the Sixth International Marine Debris Conference, which will take place the 12-16 March 2018 in San Diego, California, US. Winners will present their ideas at the conference and participate in Think Beyond Plastic’s acceleration programme, which will provide support and mentoring to help the winning ideas become commercially viable. [UNEP Press Release] [Think Beyond Plastic Innovation Challenge]

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