On World Environment Day: Challenges Remain with Global Plastic Pollution and Sustainable Development

05 Jun 2024

June 5th is globally acknowledged as the 51st World Environment Day. Recently, a team of students from the Department of Health and Environmental Sciences, School of Sciences, XJTLU participated in the 2024 Global Environmental Solutions Challenge and International Student Conference on Environment and Sustainability held at Tongji University. This international event is co-organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Tongji University. This year's theme focused on global "solutions to plastic pollution".

At the challenge, our student team focused on the problem of microplastic particles in industrial wastewater and proposed an innovative technical solution to effectively deal with this global environmental challenge. Their research project reflects innovation at the technical level, and also demonstrates a deep understanding of the problem of environmental plastic pollution and the ability to critically think to solve practical, real-world problems.

At the International Student Conference on Environment and Sustainability held later, the students communicated with other teams and experts and learned more about the concepts and how to design solutions for sustainable development. This valuable knowledge becomes transferable to their personal and professional growth and better prepares them for their future research and careers.

By participating in this conference, students gained a deeper understanding of the global plastic pollution problem and learned about the solutions provided by international university student teams. While acquiring knowledge, they also improved their professional skills, strengthened their understanding of the importance of sustainable development, and realized their responsibilities and mission as future environmental leaders. On this special day of World Environment Day, we believe that through active engagement in education and applied practice, we can work together to create a more sustainable future and a better world.

From left to right: Jingxiang Sun, Hankun Zhang, Jingyi Pang, and Lei Han (team supervisor)

Student comments

Jingyi Pang (undergraduate student majoring in Environmental Science):

This is a great opportunity to communicate with students from other international universities. Whether it is sharing of ideas and topics at the meeting or the casual chat, we can feel everyone's attention to environmental protection issues. Each team shared their understanding of the conference theme and the projects they studied, for example, microplastics enriched in agricultural land, plastic pollution increased due to fast fashion consumption, and non-plastic bag design, etc. After the conference, we also had further communications with friends from various universities and have learned a lot.

Hankun Zhang (Master's student majoring in Environmental Science):

This competition was a great learning experience, inspiring to think like global innovators' and further build on our passion. Participants proposed various creative solutions from various perspectives, including material innovation, production process modification, and recycling, which broadened my horizons and inspired new ideas for thinking innovately and improving and our existing solutions. Through this cross-cultural exchange, I realized the determination and confidence of governments, enterprises, and the public in a worldwide effort to addressplastic pollution, and globally collaborative cooperation are one of the key forces in addressing environmental challenges.

Participating in the International Student Conference on Environment and Sustainability deepened my understanding of the urgency and importance of sustainable development. I listened to presentations by experts and scholars worldwide, gaining insights into the latest research findings and successful case studies. This exchange and learning experience enriched my knowledge and fueled my enthusiasm for environmental protection and sustainable development. It encouraged me to actively implement these concepts in my future career and personal life. Through this conference, I became more committed to the collective effort of creating a greener future. I believe that through continuous technological innovation andsocial responsibility, environmental pollution issues can be effectively controlled.

Jingxiang Sun (Master's student majoring in Environmental Science):

At the Global Environmental Solutions Challenge, we had the opportunity to meet contestants from around the world and exchange innovative ideas and experiences. The passion and intelligence of everyone involved were truly impressive. This experience broadened my horizons and also inspired our team with new approaches to tackling plastic pollution. We realized that global collaboration and diverse perspectives are essential forces in addressing environmental challenges.

The BSc Environmental Science Programme is offered by the School of Science at XJTLU and is committed to cultivating environmental professionals with an international perspective, innovative ability and a practical spirit. Our teaching philosophy is to allow students to learn and grow in solving practical problems, encourage students to explore multi-dimensional solutions to environmental problems, and cultivate their leadership skills and social responsibility in practice. We expect students to apply their knowledge and experience to future research and work, and make greater contributions to promoting sustainable development and environmental protection.

For more details, please contact: Science@xjtlu.edu.cn

Material: Dr Lei Han
Review: Professor John Moraros


05 Jun 2024