Youth Innovation Challenge 2022: Tackling Marine Debris!


Youth Innovation Challenge 2022: Tackling Marine Debris!

Wednesday, November 30 2022

As part of the GEEP program, the Youth Innovation Challenge (YIC) provides opportunities to youth from around the world to address urgent and pressing environmental issues through innovative solutions. The 2022 YIC theme was marine debris and a total of 84 innovations from 32 countries were submitted. In the end, 15 finalists were chosen, and the top 3 innovations were awarded USD 1,000 grant.

  1. Reducing Debris in Akassa Marine Environment Through Social Behavioural Change

Mac-Donald Taribio Jim-Dorgu | Yenagoa, Nigeria

Addressing the problem of marine debris in his region, Mac-Donald Taribio Jim-Dorgu aims to organize and facilitate town hall meetings with influential community leaders—including traditional rulers, youth leaders, women groups, faith-based organizations, and leaders of African traditional religion—across 20 coastal communities in Nigeria. The goal of this solution is to use environmental education as a lifelong learning tool to inculcate awareness of the importance of marine ecosystems in relation to human health, food security, equity, and climate change. The town hall meetings will use research-based communication tools, including Focus Group Discussion (FGD) and Community Mapping (CM) to explore the causes, effects, and solutions to marine debris in these communities. Through these town hall meetings, communities will be encouraged to develop Community By-Laws against pollution and littering practices, and Community Marine Protection Vanguards to protect nearby coasts. This solution will also get community members involved through organized beach cleanups, where volunteers can sell the plastic they collect to local recycling companies.

  1. The Ocean’s Story: Performing Arts to Save the Sea

Kyo Lee | Waterloo, Canada

After noticing the vast number of audiences reached by her school’s grand musicals, Kyo Lee envisioned The Ocean’s Story, a school-wide theatrical project designed to mitigate the impacts of marine pollution in every stage of the production, from scripting to performance to education. In collaboration with her school’s drama department, Kyo’s project will include a five-step process to write and perform a theatrical piece that would educate the community about marine debris in her region. The first step of this process will involve environmental education about marine debris and then will mobilize students to collect litter through a community-wide beach cleanup. Materials from the beach cleanup that can be reused will later be used to create costumes, props, and sets. The next steps of the process include student-led scriptwriting using research on the issue of marine debris, prop and set design, and a grand performance for the community. The performance will be an opportunity to raise awareness for marine pollution within the region, imbuing thought, discussion, and action that will create a positive ripple effect for the wider community.

  1. Litter Barrier

Muhamad Zulhairil Danial Bin Mohd Zulkifli li, Nur Fatin Fitrah Binti Ahmad Kamal, Nur Syadhira Binti Mohd Razali, & Muhammad Ismar Izhar Bin Ishak | Terengganu, Malaysia


Recognizing the presence of litter in rivers and its harm to waterways and ultimately the ocean, Muhamad Zulhairil Danial Bin Mohd Zulkifli (Zulhairil) and his teammates came up with a solution called Litter Barrier. Little Barrier is a floating litter trap made out of affordable (and glow-in-the-dark) materials that can be placed along the shoreline of river beds to collect floating debris. This is a feasible way to kickstart river management among local communities in Terengganu. With a focus on youth, this team will host workshops and lectures to provide education about the problem of marine debris and give tutorials on using Litter Barrier to local communities. Any plastic collected in the litter traps can be sold to recycling companies, providing a source of income for local community members.