The oceans are drowning in plastic waste. Image: National Geographic

National Geographic is part of a new project to reduce the amount of plastic in the oceans. It and partner firm Sky Ocean Ventures are offering big money for people who have “innovative solutions” to combat plastic pollution choking the world’s oceans.

They have launched a one-year competition to help tackle the world’s single-use plastic problem, as part of National Geographic’s Planet or Plastic initiative.

They want to significantly reduce the amount of single-use plastic that reaches the ocean by raising awareness, elevating science and education, advancing innovation and inspiring action.

Teams or individuals interested in the Ocean Plastic Innovation Challenge need to submit their strategic solutions by June 11, 2019 to compete for a share of $1.5 million in awards and investment.

“The Ocean Plastic Innovation Challenge is a tremendous opportunity to create a global community of problem solvers — innovators, scientists, researchers, storytellers and other creative minds — who are passionate about bringing their ideas to life in order to stem the tide of plastic pollution,” said Dr Jonathan Baillie, National Geographic Society executive vice president and chief scientist. “National Geographic and Sky Ocean Ventures are excited to work with competition winners to help create new technologies, business models and other solutions that will bring us one step closer to achieving a planet in balance.”

Sky Ocean Ventures was launched in March 2018 with a £25 million cornerstone commitment from Sky and the objective of seeking out investment opportunities in start-up innovation businesses that can help solve the ocean plastic waste crisis.

The equivalent of a truckload of plastic litter is estimated to go into the oceans every minute. Image: National Geographic

Meanwhile, one of Thailand’s biggest retail outlets, the 7-Eleven chain which has many thousands of stores nationwide, appears to have had significant success in reducing the amount of plastic bags it gives out. Thai media outlets claim that consumers have responded well to its campaign to cut use of plastic bags – with 169 million less bags given out over the past two months.

Thailand is one of five Asian countries – along with China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam – responsible for serious plastic pollution in nearby seas, according to a survey in 2016. So, this is a good start.

But much more remains to be done.

For more information and content recruitment materials, see: Help solve the plastic waste crisis

See: Ocean Plastic Innovation Challenge

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