11 Feb 2019 - Plastic is choking the ocean. A new innovation challenge looks for ideas on how to solve the pollution problem from anyone, anywhere.
Plastic is everywhere. It pools in the farthest reaches of the ocean and collects on the slopes of the highest mountains; researchers have found it in whales’ bellies and in the groundwater reserves we tap for drinking. Every day, about one megaton more is produced, enough to make almost 22 trillion water bottles—and more than 90 percent of that will never see the inside of a recycling plant.
So what should we do about it? How can we keep that plastic from drowning the planet?
Solutions to a problem as “big and knotty” as this one are going to require all hands on deck, says Valerie Craig, a deputy to the vice president at the National Geographic Society. Good ideas could come from anyone, anywhere. So to tap the entire world’s creativity and expertise, the National Geographic Society and Sky Ocean Ventures have put together the Ocean Plastic Innovation Challenge to source ideas from around the world about how to address plastic waste.
“We hope we can inspire people of diverse backgrounds to utilize their own resources, to try to really solve the problems they see and reach their own goals,” says Fred Michel, the head of Sky Ocean Ventures, an impact investment arm of the London-based Sky media company. “And maybe—we hope—they’ll come up with something amazing, something transformational.”
The challenge, announced Monday, is split into three tracks, each designed to address a different part of the plastics pollution problem. Each track is eligible for prizes totaling up to $500,000 as well as the opportunity for further investments and business mentoring from Sky Ocean Ventures.
Innovators can submit their ideas until June 11.
CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/02/plastic-innovation-challenge-prize-clean-ocean/
PHOTO: RANDY OLSON, NAT GEO IMAGE COLLECTION