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2021 Plastics Pollution 11-13

2021 Take Action on Plastics Pollution (11-13)

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The UNWTO World Tourism Students League, run within the UNWTO Academy, creates an innovative environment to empower and motivate youth to get involved with the tourism sector and participate in this world students tourism league. The participants get real-time experience from the sector by creating and presenting innovative solutions for the challenges that the sector is facing nowadays. All challenges are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This specific challenge is placing the focus on plastic pollution which is addressed mainly within the framework of SDG12 on Responsible Consumption and Production but also in other interconnected goals such as SDG 13, SDG 14 and SDG 15, respectively on climate action and the protection of marine and terrestrial ecosystems. You can learn more about the SDGs by watching this video.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how interconnected we are and how much the health of nature has direct impact on our lives, well-being and health. Taking care of nature is therefore key to a prosperous and sustainable future for all.. At the same time, hygiene measures undertaken to tackle the pandemic have increased the demand for disposable plastic items with masks and gloves already being found in the natural environment of tourism destinations.

Plastic pollution is one of the major environmental challenges of our time and tourism has an important role to play in contributing to the solution. On the one hand, much of the plastics used in tourism are made to be thrown away and often cannot be recycled, leading to large amounts of pollution. On the other hand, clean landscapes and coastlines and the possibility to observe wildlife are key elements of tourism destinations and therefore should be protected from plastic pollution.



Create a work of art (poster, mural, sculpture) to remind tourists and/or tourism businesses about the importance to take action on plastic pollution, as an essential element for the restart of tourism after COVID-19.


  • In what ways can the tourism sector (tourists/ businesses) contribute to tackling plastic pollution?
  • What changes would you like to see in the way plastics are used in tourism once the sector recovers from COVID-19? You as a tourist and also part of a host community!
  • Is your message compelling and ambitious but at the same time realistic?
  • How does your work of art show ways of reducing, reusing and recycling plastics?

Some hints:

  • You find this plastic item unnecessary!
  • You find a way to reuse and upcycle these plastic items!
  • You want to make sure that these plastic items will be recycled!
  • You want to send a message to tourists and tourism businesses and organizations!

The work of art should represent/depict plastics or be made of/with plastics. Make sure that you are not using new materials to create your work of art but rather reusing and recycling plastics (and other materials).


  1. Get you Team together if you are working with fellow students.
  2. Download the Challenge document (attached in pdf) and read through it carefully (it may contain information that is not on this form here).
  3. Review the resources provided under section 5.
  4. Discuss among the members of the team to agree on what you would like to represent, the materials that you plan to use and what would be the message behind the work of art and to whom you are addressing it (tourists and/or businesses).
  5. Work as a team to create a work of art.
  6. Take pictures of the work of art. The quality of the image must be 300dpi.
  7. Think of a location where you would love to place the work of art to influence as many people as possible.



Your submission will be evaluated by the Jury according to the following criteria:

  • Innovation and originality 
  • Implementation model and feasibility (e.g. team work and correct use of the plastics)
  • Impact, accuracy and effective contribution to solve the challenge/alignment with the Challenge
  • Awareness/Contribution to the SDGs

The judges evaluate these aspects individually from 1 to 10. The score given to the team is the sum of the scores of each jury member given for each aspect. The maximum score for this specific challenge (middle school) is 40 points per submission.




Plastics are not bad. It is probably the opposite, as a material, plastics are amazing! The problem is ours, as we have not been using plastics correctly since they were created.

If we get to know plastic better, its production, life cycle and proper usage, we can make sure to:

  1. reduce the amount of unnecessary plastics that we use in our daily lives and when we travel;
  2. reuse those plastics that we still need to use, and;
  3. recycle as much as possible to give plastics the many lives they are meant to have instead of becoming waste.

Did you know that:

  • Plastic was created in 1907 and has been a key material to the progress of modern society given its resistance, durability, low weight and relatively low cost.
  • Plastic is a wonder of technology; it revolutionized medicine with life-saving devices!
  • Millions of products that we use nowadays are made of plastic or include plastic parts such as for instance, computers, cell phones, water bottles, coffee cups, bags, etc.



  • Your submission package will be a compressed ZIP file (the zip file name must contain the name of your School).
  • Your ZIP file will contain the following:
    • Three photos of the work of art (from different angles). The quality of images should be 300 dpi and the file names must contain the name of the School.
    • A 2 minute video (recorded with a phone is good) where you describe the team, the process that the team followed to create the work of art, what is the message that it represents and where you would love to place the work of art to influence as many people (including tourists) as possible. The name of the video file must contain the name of the School.


  • Please upload your package of submission through your access on the UNWTO Students’ League Platform.
  • The Teams will have 6 weeks to answer the Challenge. THE DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION IS 27 JUNE 23’59 CEST (Madrid Time).
  • The language for the submission is English.

Jury Members

Apolónia Rodrigues - Dark Sky Association 

President at Dark Sky Association 

Benjamin Davies - Rio Foundation 

El Rio Foundation 

Lucy Garner

Pankaj Thakur - Bharhka Countryside Cottage Resorts

Bharhka Countryside Cottage Resorts 

Philippos Drousiotis - Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative 

Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative 

Piet van Zyl - Positive Impact Forever

Founder Pioneer at Positive Impact Forever

Roxana Ashtari-UNWTO


Virginia Fernández-Trapa-UNWTO


Download Challenge File

Download Challenge File