Public voting has started for the inaugural Commonwealth Litter Programme's STOMP (Stamp Out Marine Plastic Pollution) Awards, which was initiated to discover and encourage innovations to reduce and eliminate marine plastic pollution.

Duncan Pritchard, Project Manager of Green Corridors, the Durban-based non-profit organisation tasked with managing the awards programme, reports that over 60 submissions have been made.

"We are pleased with the number of entries we have received in this first year of the awards," he says. "The entries have varied in terms of category, and in terms of the kinds of individuals and organisations making submissions. For us, that is a positive start, as we want to use the awards to inspire South Africans to finds solutions to the plastic crisis."

Entries have been made in five categories: technology or technical design, consumer products, youth and adult inspire through creativity and action and special recognition category for organizations and individuals doing great things to find solutions. "As expected we have had entries from Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban, but we have also seen a significant number of entries from the Eastern Cape, and inland areas."

"What is particularly interesting is the number of entries by young people, who are doing significant work in trying to find solutions to the plastic crisis. We have also seen some interesting tech innovations, giving us enormous hope that people are thinking of the future, and this certainly speaks to the overall vision of the awards.

Public voting is open until Friday 15 November, thereafter, a panel of judges will start their judging, with finalists announced on Friday 22 November.

Representatives of the final entries in the Technology or Technical Design and the Product Development categories will be hosted, and their innovations showcased at the CLIP Innovation Conference: STEM the tide of plastic waste in Africa in Cape Town on 4 and 5 December 2019. Other entries will also be showcased at this conference, which is co-hosted with the Sustainable Seas Trust.

CLIP is led by the United Kingdom through the Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), funded by the UK's Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

All voting takes place online to view the entries go to https://www.stompawards.co.za/index.php/vote