Best Ideas 2022 features all the nominated entries submitted under ‘Submit your Idea’ category. All the entries consist of innovative solutions or propositions for an enterprise that champions the Sustainable Development Goals. They can be on the conceptual, planning, or start-up stage.

Utilization of microbe-based replacements for chemical pesticides

Stage of Idea planning stage

Explain your idea in details:

Though the reason for pesticides existence is to get rid of bugs and pests that harm crops, it is slowly killing the environment and flora within. Pesticides contaminate soil, water, turf, and even other vegetation. As the contamination made by the overuse of pesticide spreads, living creatures such as fish, birds and beneficial insects may be harmed as well. Fitting under the Climate Action category of the UN SDGs, we propose the utilization of microbe-based replacements for chemical pesticides. Nonpathogenic microorganisms - or bacterias, in a more familiar term - have been proven to act like a vaccine for plants, providing a low-risk stimulus for the plants immune system that prepares it for dealing with genuine threats. Our idea is to utilize these kinds of organisms and find a way to reproduce them quite easily so that many people can produce them from their homes with almost no additional costs. This will reduce the usage of pesticides and help the environment while keeping the crops and plants healthy and in good quality.

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Expected impact of your idea on sustainable development

Once we are able to explore more into microbes and find out the specific types of bacteria that triggers the activation of the immune system in crops, we will be able to save the plants and the planet in an eco-friendly way. This strategy is also a financial treat - bacteria are one of the fastest reproductive organisms on the planet, with the average reproduction cycle being 20 minutes. Since we dont need a lot of special equipment for microbes to reproduce, less work is required in factories. Since there is no need to run factories that produce air pollution, microbe based immune systems not only reduce pollution in and of itself but also cuts off further pollution usually made in its process. Also, when we implement the strategy of using microbe-based replacements instead of pesticides, we can preserve diverse species as well as endangered ones. Pesticides which are toxic chemicals meant to kill pests also affect the non-targeted species, such as plants, animals and most of all, us humans. When pesticides are sprayed over fields, 95% don't make it to their targets. Instead they land on unsuspecting species everywhere. Some pesticides can induce immunotoxicity in humans, leading to immunosuppression, hypersensitivity (allergies), autoimmune diseases, and inflammation; children may be especially in danger of being exposed to pesticides. People who work regularly with pesticides, such as farmers, are also at greater risk of cancer. Thousands of non-lethal poisonings and cancer cases each year are attributable to pesticides. Microbe based replacements can do a lot for our agriculture and for human lives and health. This strategy can easily be passed down to the developing countries for their agriculture and public health, reducing carbon emissions and keeping the people healthy.

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Plans for implementation and sustainability

We have found multiple bacteria which are suitable for helping grow crops and to keep their immune systems in high standard, with the most commonly known and effective being the Rhizobium and Bacillus type bacteria. Since rhizobium is independent and doesn't need individual care, we wouldnt have to do much,on the contrary we just need to guide the bacteria near the roots and mix the soil and bacteria evenly. Reproducing these bacteria is quite simple and can be grown in ordinary homes. For example, bacillus can be grown with the right temperature, LB Agar and a place to store it. LB Agar is a type of gel that will help the bacillus find a subtle surface to grow on.Setting the temperature to approximately 30-35 degrees will help as well. After a few days, you can move portions of the bacteria elsewhere to quicken the growth cycle. However, one of the drawbacks with microorganisms is the high cost. Microorganisms satisfy environmental and social sustainability, but not economic sustainability. In order to solve the problem of high cost, it is necessary to reduce the cost of production and distribution. In fact, in 2006, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry tried to establish a natural circulation agriculture that developed a stable production base for high-quality compost fertilizer and incorporated a distribution and use system. Like this case we need cooperation between the local government and agriculture associations to reduce the costs generated by production and distribution of microorganisms. However, since the government cannot perfectly tune the market price, in order to activate microorganisms and achieve sustainability, appropriate consent of the target area for implementing policies such as the Village Autonomy Code is necessary.

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Your profile

Me and my fellow students are all from the same high school in Korea. Its a school that specializes in global issues and different languages, and to become worldwide spokesmen. When we began learning about UN SDGs in our classes, we were shocked to find so many different environmental crises, ones that we werent even aware of before. So we started to research about environmental problems we could solve, something that wasnt so far fetched like all those big ozone layers people talk of all the time. And when I came upon an article about agriculture and pesticides, something just clicked, which was the start of our journey. The reason why five of us started as a team is that we had a strong bond to begin with. We all started hanging out together because we all had similar interests, and we all wanted to have a positive effect on the world. Thanks to this project I feel like we all became a bit closer. Another reason for us joining as a group was that we could edit and provide feedback on each of our works. We really wanted this idea to be carried out without any big flaws, so we were constantly under the process of improving what we had and fixing any holes we could find. Having multiple members in our groups really helped cover a large area of research as well, with multiple viewpoints of the same idea or context, which helped reinforce a lot of our data that we managed to collect.

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