IET challenges young entrepreneurs to ‘Save our Seas’ and solve real-world plastic and toxic waste threat

Bengaluru, February 07, 2019: The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) is calling for young entrepreneurs to enter a global challenge to develop an innovative solution to help clean up the estimated 18 billion pounds of increasing plastic waste that enters our oceans each year.

In addition, approximately four trillion cigarette butts have made their way into the waters, leaching hundreds of toxic chemicals each and adding to the biggest global threat of our generation.

Partnering with Greenpeace and GreenSeas Trust, the IET has set two very different challenges, with teams needing to solve one of them to be in with the chance of working with organisations that can make a real difference. The closing date for the entries is March 14, 2019

The Greenpeace challenge requires teams to think of ideas for reusable packaging designs or new approaches that enable supermarkets to dramatically reduce the need for packaging in the first place. According to Greenpeace, our oceans are slowly turning into a "plastic soup” with part of the problem being single-use plastic. This means that huge amounts of plastic, which can take hundreds of years to break down, are entering our oceans.

GreenSeas wants teams to tackle the trillions of cigarettes currently in our waters, the number one item found on beach clean-ups. Teams are challenged to create a remotely controlled all-terrain machine that can move up and down the beach, picking up cigarette butts from the surface of the sand and collecting them in a chamber or hopper.

A large proportion of plastic in our oceans is also due to "improper disposal of wastes" and accidental propagation by winds, drains and floods, according to GreenSeas Trust.

The winning teams from both challenges will receive a £500 cash prize, trophy and an all-expenses-paid trip to attend the IET's prestigious Innovation Awards ceremony in London where their winning solution will be revealed to the audience.

Mike Carr, The IET President, said: “This competition is all about giving young engineers a platform to highlight their innovations. By shining a light on a particular problem we’ve found that engineers think outside of the box and come up with innovative solutions. 

“Previous winners of this challenge have gone on to see their innovations become a reality, so this is a great way to make a difference and solve a real-world challenge.”

Shekhar Sanyal, Director and Country Head of the IET- India, said, “In this digital era, the world is seeking solutions to real world problems. Technology has the potential to build a better world and play a pivotal role in facilitating a change. Being the thought leaders in the space of engineering and technology, we, at the IET, have opened the platform for young minds to showcase their skill-sets and present us with unconventional ideas to solve real-world problems.

For more information, visit and follow the challenge on social media #IETSaveOurSeas.

About the IET

Founded 148 years ago, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (The IET) is one of the world’s leading professional societies for the engineering and technology community. The IET has more than 168,000 members+ in 150 countries, with active networks of members in 37 countries. In India, the IET has over 13,000 members, 8 Local Networks and focuses on Energy, Transport, Information & Communications, IoT and Education sectors.

Part of its remit is to promote, recognise and reward individual excellence and support emerging talent through a programme of undergraduate and postgraduate engineering scholarships.  The awards programme includes awards for individual excellence, research and innovation, scholarships, travel awards, prizes and competitions within the engineering and technology sector.