Youth worldwide are engaging in innovative ways to activate their communities and combat ocean pollution. Pédrisson and Emmanuelson Bernard, of Carrefour, Haiti, won the 2016 Millennium Oceans Prize for a win-win solution to urban waste, ocean pollution and unemployment.
During Haiti’s rainy season, the city’s streets carry trash to the sea. The brothers developed a waste management system and mobilized community youth to help keep the streets clean, in turn protecting the waters upon which the island community depends.
Students from Borrisoleigh, Ireland, won the EurOcean Foundation’s European Mário Ruivo Prize for a marine trash-fighting solution called Bags with Tags, in December. Laura Hutchinson and Antoinette Atik designed stylish totes to curb the use of plastic bags, including magnetic tags for easier retrieval from waterways; they worked with local stores to distribute them at points of sale.
In another 2016 Professor Mário Ruivo Prize finalist effort, students from the island of Malta developed a way to keep waste from falling out of the usually open trash bins serving local ferries that transport 4 million passengers annually by collaborating with town officials to place three marine-friendly containers near the ferry departure point. Such student initiatives demonstrate how simple solutions, driven by passionate advocates, can improve our troubled waters.