Smail Involved in Launch of Plastics Data Challenge in Asia

ESSIC/CISESS Senior Faculty Specialist Emily Smail is on the advisory council of the Plastics Data Challenge for Asia, a global innovation challenge to end ocean plastic pollution.

The challenge will source, support, and scale innovative solutions that address the leakage of plastic waste into the environment.  Participants will co-create technologies, methodologies, and working prototypes to discover solutions that address the lack of data across Asia’s plastics value chains as well as support and enhance the South and Southeast Asian market for plastic waste and recycling innovations.

Each year, about 8 million tons of plastic waste enters our oceans, equivalent to five full trash bags along every inch of coastline worldwide.  An estimated 60% of ocean plastics is a result of mismanaged waste from five Asian nations.  Optimizing plastic waste is key to ending this crisis, but data in plastic waste management across South and Southeast Asia is missing, inconsistent, or unreliable because the sector’s value chains are complex, fragmented, and reliant on the informal economy.

Their application process opens on December 19 and ends March 25. For more information, go to

In addition to her work with ESSIC/CISESS, Smail is also the Executive Director of the GEO Blue Planet Initiative.   She also serves as the co-chair of the GEO AquaWatch Initiative‘s outreach and user engagement working group and supports outreach and education efforts for the NOAA CoastWatch/OceanWatch program.