Best Ideas 2018 features all the nominated entries submitted to the Youth Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition under ‘Submit your Idea’ category. All the entries consist of innovative solution or proposition for an enterprise that champions the Sustainable Development Goals. They can be on the conceptual, planning, or start-up stage. If you want to know the 10 finalists in this category, click HERE
Explain your idea in details:
The main objective of this idea is to promote water sanitation - SDG6, to support WASH, to link the positive impacts with other related SDGs as well as focusing on reducing microbeads in the ocean The idea is to implement the use of bacteria Ideonella sakaiensis to improve wastewater treating process. I. sakaiensis has the uncommon capability to use Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) as its carbon and energy source for growth. When grown on PET, I. sakaiensis will secrete two enzymes, PETase and MHETase. PETase first breaks some bonds in PET, before a further breakdown by MHETase. Both enzymes use water and the end products would be terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol. These two products are harmless organic compounds as they will be broken down further to produce carbon dioxide and water. The bacteria grows at a pH range of 5.5 to 9.0 and a temperature of 1542 °C. This matches the pH and temperature of water in sewage plants, which is generally in range of 5.5 to 8.0(pH) and 25-35°C in temperature. I. sakaiensis is an aerobic organism, which can survive in an oxygenated environment. This means they will suit the environment after the aeration process, which is a common process in most sewage plants. The process of breaking up big plastic molecules may take some time. Fortunately, the small size of a microbead means they have a large total surface area to be acted by the enzymes, which should quicken the process. Yet, the discovery of I. sakaiensis dates back to just 2 years ago. Surely a lot of researches need to be carried out to improve the bacteria and enzymes in order to work in stated conditions. In other words, further development is necessary before it can deliver the expected outcomes.
Expected impact of your idea on sustainable development
Targets : (1) Elimination of microbeads in water onwards. Although the ocean is already polluted with billions of these tiny particles, stopping the increasing rate will at least ease the problem and open up opportunities to find a complete solution for the ocean in the future. This target will also positively affect SDG14 - Life below water as they are very closely related. (2) High possibility to form variants from the bacteria and enzymes to breakdown different polymers, or to have different product at the end of the breakdown process. (3) Minimize the threat to aquatic species. Microbeads absorb large quantities of toxin, and they are ingested by aquatic species. By preventing microbeads from entering the ocean puts a stop in the rise of danger possessed to the aquatic species. (4) Ensure safe food supply to everyone. Again, stopping amount of microbeads in the ocean from increasing lowers the probability of marine species being contaminated with toxins, thus prevents those unwanted pollutants from entering our food chain. This will improve SDG3 - Good health and well-being.
Plans for implementation and sustainability
To make sure the bacteria is proven to work optimally, preparations are needed to enhance it. This includes testings, scientific study and researches which may cost millions. Possibles partners include (1) sewage management R&D corporations such as "Pakar Go Green Sdn Bhd" and "CMI Environment" , (2) environmental organisations such as Global Water, Greenpeace, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Global Water Leaders and Water.org, (3) international foundations supporting projects on WASH, such as Vitol Foundation and The Coca-Cola Foundation. Collaborations between these organisations also looks possible because the require budget cannot be predicted yet. Growth in number of environmental organizations supporters shows that more people are becoming concerned about this issue. (4) It is very high-likely that small part of millions of them, who cares about the ocean will contribute to the funding of this idea. Over time, the amount of money collected from these sources should be enough to fund this initiative.
I am a 16 years old student from Malaysia. I have lived in different environments in the open world, observing how much the society is concerned about the environment. Growing up during an era of which industrial revolution is keenly developed, I explore how the processes are carried out through the internet. Somehow I realised some are conducted without acknowledging the consequences on our planet. I describe myself as a person who thinks a lot, always having questions in my head on how to improve those systems in any way. I know a lot of people out there, especially the youth share the same self-nature as me, but there is no right platform for their fresh ideas to be expressed. Thereby, they end up guessing those ideas as nonsense, killing the potency that those ideas hold. "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take" is my life principle, which motivates me to take any opportunity in life. For me, this competition gives a chance for everyone to voice out what is in their mind, which aims to a better world in the future. My best achievement so far is a track runner-up as a team in the 2018 Malaysian Youth Industrial Bootcamp (Central Region).