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BIEA competition seeks solutions to ocean plastic

The British International Education Association has launched its international STEM Youth Innovation Competition 2020 asking competitors aged 9-21 to find solutions to plastic pollution.

A marine animal made of plastic provided a visual reminder of the issue of plastic waste at the competition launch. Photo: BIEA

Final rounds taking place in June and July 2020

Bringing together experts in plastic recycling, coastal marine science and waterway conservation at London’s Royal Institution, BIEA is hoping to find solutions to the eight million tonnes of plastic that ends up in oceans per year.

“Young scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians can think outside the box”

Student teams are being asked to research, write a report and design solutions to ‘Save our shores from plastic waste through STEM’.

Winners aged 9-17 will earn cash prizes for their school’s STEM labs, while those aged 18-21 will take part in ‘University Challenge’ and become youth STEM ambassadors.

BIEA’s STEM chairman, David Hanson, said the competition aims to capture the imagination and interest of young people, highlighting STEM as a force for good.

“Young scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians can think outside the box and invent extraordinary solutions to the global problem of plastic pollution,” he noted.

The 2019 competition sought to find answers to how drones could conserve endangered animal species – one million students aged 9-17 from 33,000 schools around the world applied, while students from 18 countries attended the final in the UK to present their entries.

The BIEA expects even higher participation numbers as it opens entries to college and university students, with final rounds taking place in June and July 2020.

Along with STEM experts and industry professionals, representatives from the Chinese and Polish embassies and educators from UK, China, Venezuela and Nigeria attended the launch event in London.

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