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China's Blue Circle initiative wins UN highest environment award

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-10-30 16:21

NAIROBI - The United Nations Environment Program on Monday honored China's Blue Circle environmental initiative with the 2023 Champions of the Earth award -- the UN's most prestigious environmental recognition -- for its innovative marine plastic treatment technology.

This year, five recipients from a pool of 2,500 nominations, were honored. Among them was the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in South Africa, whose efforts have contributed to the global fight against plastic pollution, according to a statement released by the Nairobi-based agency.

Honored in the Entrepreneurial Vision category, the Blue Circle initiative uses blockchain technology and the Internet of Things to comprehensively monitor the entire lifecycle of plastic pollution, encompassing collection, regeneration, re-manufacturing and re-sale.

To date, it has successfully gathered over 10,700 tonnes of marine debris, making it China's largest marine plastic waste program.

This results from collaboration involving more than 6,000 individuals and over 200 enterprises from China's eastern province of Zhejiang.

Calling plastic pollution "deeply concerning," Inger Andersen, executive director of the UNEP, said that to solve the issue, a complete change is urgently needed.

"This will take nothing less than a complete transformation: to reduce the amount of plastics produced and eliminate single-use plastics, and to switch to re-use systems and alternatives that avoid the negative environmental and social impacts that we are witnessing with plastic pollution," said Andersen.

The annual Champions of the Earth award was established in 2005 with the goal of honoring innovators who are leading the efforts to safeguard both people and the environment.

It has honored 116 laureates in total throughout the years, including 27 world leaders, 70 exceptional individuals and 19 distinguished organizations.

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