Plastic pollution is one of the biggest threats to our oceans. According to the International Union for Conservation, approximately 14 million tons of plastic makes its way into the ocean each year. Plastics pose a huge threat to marine life when aquatic organisms ingest or become entangled in the debris, oftentimes resulting in injury or death. Plastics also pose a threat to human health as they work their way up the food chain and for the first time in history, a recent study found microplastics in human blood.
The focus of the Lonely Whale Foundation is to prevent plastic from entering the ocean and in partnership with fashion designer and film director Tom Ford, they launched the TOM FORD Plastic Innovation Prize. The contest aims to create scalable and biologically degradable alternatives to thin-film plastic polybags. The total prize purse: $1.2 million.
“What we accomplish together through this competition will catalyze global change across continents, countries and industries, which is urgently needed to address plastic pollution,” says Ford. “If the ocean is polluted and in danger, then so is the planet and so are we. The impact these brilliant minds and their creations will have on our planet is monumental, bringing us their innovative solutions to making the environment a safer place for generations to come.”