19 Sep 2018 Story Oceans & seas

This school year, help us turn the tide on plastic


Marine plastic pollution is one of the biggest environmental challenges of our time. This fall, UN Environment, together with the animation studio Kurzgesagt, is challenging schools and youth groups worldwide to be part of the solution and join our “Back to School Plastic Challenge”.

Every year, 13 million tonnes of plastic trash find their way into our oceans, hurting marine plants and animals and putting human health at risk. Engaging children and youth is key to addressing this problem. Children are not only the citizens of tomorrow; what they learn and the choices they make today can also influence their communities’ behaviours.

That is why UN Environment is launching the “Back to School Plastic Challenge”, inviting schools and youth groups to find creative ways to reduce – or even better, eliminate – single-use plastics in their daily lives.

To help schools and students participate in the challenge, UN Environment has developed the Back to School Education Pack, which gives an overview of the issue at hand and provides examples of what can be done at school or in the community.

Schools are then encouraged to report back on their actions and send their stories to the Clean Seas team at UN Environment. All entries will be will be reviewed, and the best and most innovative solutions will have a chance of winning the prestigious “Clean Seas Back to School Awards”.

The education pack is launched together with an animation video made by the German animation studio Kurzgesagt. The video tells the story of how when humans discovered how to make plastic, we created a big problem for ourselves. The good news, however, is that we have the power to solve this problem, and that is what the challenge is all about.

Schools and participating groups have until 10 January 2019 to submit their entries to the challenge. We look forward to receiving your submissions!

To start:

For more information or to submit your entry, please contact the Clean Seas team at UN Environment.