Plastic Waste Photo Contest


The Plastic Waste Partnership: photography contest

Plastic waste – A Global Problem

The pollution of our marine and terrestrial environment by plastic waste is one of the most pressing global environmental challenges faced today. Over the last ten years, we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century: 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% has been recycled and another 12% incinerated. An estimated 100 million tonnes of plastic is in our seas, 80-90% 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, the problem is solvable.

Plastic Waste Partnership

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.


On the inaugural day of its first meeting on 2 March 2020, the Plastic Waste Partnership will launch a photography contest to promote outreach, education and awareness-raising on the global plastic waste crisis. The contest welcomes entries from all walks of life: from amateur 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, our collective progress to date and the challenges and opportunities moving forward. As the recent COVID-19 pandemic has seen a soar in the amount of single-use plastic waste generated, giving visibility to the problem and the solutions has become more pressing than ever before.

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, in Geneva Switzerland!


Contest participants are invited to submit their entries in the following six categories which relate to the impacts of the plastic waste problem, the progress we’ve made and where we need to focus our attention:

  1. Let’s go outside! – Plastic waste and nature
  2. Plastic waste and our health and livelihoods
  3. Tiny but everywhere: Microplastics
  4. Let’s use it! – Plastic waste as a resource
  5. Let’s do it! – Solutions for avoiding single-use plastic products
  6. Let’s fix it! – Alternatives, new technologies and innovation

Three (3) winners will be announced in each category: 1 amateur, 1 professional adult and 1 child. Exciting prizes and visibility will be offered to each winner

Free entry

Deadline: 30 September 2020

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