National Geographic and Sky Ocean Ventures have launched a global search for innovative solutions to help tackle the world's single-use plastic problem.
The Ocean Plastic Innovation Challenge, a one-year competition, will focus on three strategic ways to address the growing issue of plastic pollution: designing alternatives to single-use plastics, identifying opportunities for industries to address plastic waste throughout supply chains and communicating the breadth of the issue through data visualization. The Ocean Plastic Innovation Challenge is a key component of National Geographic's and Sky Ocean Ventures' partnership to reduce plastic waste.
Teams or individuals interested in the Ocean Plastic Innovation Challenge must submit their solutions by June 11 for review by an expert judging panel. Selected teams will compete for a share of $1.5 million in awards and investment. Winners will be announced in December.
"In the last 60 seconds, another rubbish truck of plastic litter will have been dumped into our oceans, destroying the environment and killing wildlife,” said Frederic Michel, group director of impact and Sky Ocean Ventures, in a statement. “Sky and National Geographic have the very unique opportunity and resources to help reverse the damage that is being done and help accelerate and scale up ideas. By seeking out and supporting the innovators creating alternative and impactful solutions, we can champion the people who can potentially make a difference, beyond an equity investment. We will bring them into our unique ecosystem and provide them with support across critical areas for their very early growth."
"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, in a statement. "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."
The Ocean Plastic Innovation Challenge is a key component of National Geographic's “Planet or Plastic?” initiative, a global effort 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.