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Plastic waste photography contest launched |11 March 2020

Plastic waste photography contest launched

Plastic waste photography contest launched

Local photographers and shutterbugs are being invited to participate in the Plastic Waste photography contest, an initiative of the Plastic Waste Partnership which aims to promote outreach, education and awareness-raising on the global plastic waste crisis.

The contest was officially launched on the shores of Seychelles on March 2, during the first meeting of the Plastic Waste Partnership, convened by the secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS) and hosted by the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change.

The meet gathered more than 100 representatives from members of the partnership to discuss ways to prevent, minimise and soundly manage plastic waste from across the world.

The pollution of marine and terrestrial environment by plastic waste is one of the most pressing global environmental challenges faced today. Over the last ten years, more plastics have been produced than during the whole of the last century and global plastic production has increased steadily and reached 320 million tonnes a year. Of the estimated 6.3 billion tonnes of plastic waste produced since the 1950s, only 9 percent has been recycled and another 12 percent incinerated. An estimated 100 million tonnes of plastic is in our seas, 80 to 90 percent of which has come from land-based sources. The good news is, since an estimated 80% of that land-based waste is due to a lack of efficient collection and management schemes, meaning the problem is solvable.

“We all know the power of photographs. Sometimes, one single image can tell such an amazing story. It is exciting for me to launch the competition in the Seychelles since I have been working here since 1999. It was my responsibility with the Royal Geographical Society to run the Shoals of Capricorn programme on St Anne and we then moved on to Cap Ternay. I also led the National Geographic Outer Islands expedition to Aldabra five years ago, which helped the Seychelles government to establish 30 percent conservation of their Seychelles waters so the Seychelles is a big part of my life. In my heart, I would love to see a Seychellois winner,” said National Geographic’s Pristine Seas Expedition Leader Paul Rose.

The contest welcomes entries from amateurs to professional photographers, of all ages. Through the contest, the Partnership wants to shine a light not only on the plastic waste problem, but also the solutions out there, collective progress to date and the challenges and opportunities moving forward in six different categories, namely, Let’s go outside! Plastic waste and nature, Plastic waste and our health and livelihoods, Tiny but everywhere: Microplastics, Let’s use it! Plastic waste as a resource, Let’s do it! Solutions for avoiding single-use plastic products and Let’s fix it! Alternatives, new technologies and innovation.

Entered photos will be judged by a panel including the National Geographic Photographer Sara Hylton, and winning images will be used for a Basel Convention plastic waste calendar and displayed at the 2021 meetings of the Conference of Parties, or Triple COPs, at Unep Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.

There will be three (3) winners per category, one amateur adult, one professional adult, and one child (under 18 years) and winners will receive exciting awards and visibility as well as exciting prizes.

The winning entries will be used to produce an 18-month calendar which will be gifted to participants at the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions in 2021. They will also be displayed at an exhibition organised during the meetings of the Conferences of the Parties, as well as in an exhibition in Geneva, organised in collaboration with the City of Geneva. In addition, all the entries will be posted on a dedicated section of the BRS conventions webpage.

Photographs can be either in colour or black and white and must be submitted in JPEG format with a minimum size of 1.5 MB (within 2048 x 1536 pixels or 1536 x 2048 pixels), although winners may later be requested to submit JPEG images with higher resolution. Each participant can only submit one entry per category (but each participant can submit up to a maximum of 3 entries, provided they are submitted under different categories) and only one participant per entry is allowed.

To submit photos and entries, participants must also submit the online form ( where they can also consult the Photo Contest Regulations.

As per the regulations, all entries are submitted free of charge and each individual can submit a maximum number of 3 entries, all original photographs taken by the participant themselves. Entries must be properly labelled and accompanied by the registration form clearly stating the category for which the applicant is submitting their entry, their name, nationality, contact details including a valid e-mail address.

The Basel Convention, the UN’s multilateral environmental treaty on the prevention, minimisation and sound management of waste, is providing a platform that unites stakeholders from governments, international organisations, NGOs, academia, and industry towards the common objective of eliminating the leakage of plastic waste into our environment. The Plastic Waste Partnership (PWP), initiated in May 2019, is mobilising its broad stakeholder base to tackle the issue of plastic pollution on multiple fronts: from stimulating the development of strategies to strengthen policy and regulatory frameworks within countries; to developing solutions to improve the collection, separation and sound management of plastic waste; and stimulating innovations for increasing the durability, reusability, reparability and recyclability of plastics. The Partnership creates a collaborative environment promoting the sharing of experiences, best practices and technologies towards this common objective.


Laura Pillay



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