In response to an annual call for challenges, social agents propose real problems linked to plastic pollution of the ocean and coastline, which they identify in the form of a challenge.
The students of the two universities form working teams for each challenge, and elaborate proposals and contributions to the challenges posed.




– SURFRIDER FOUNDATION EUROPE (Spanish delegation (Surfrider España): “Discover marine pollution through our rivers and help us to find solutions”:

  • Strategies to reduce pollution, using appropriate means for the correct disposal of waste.
  • To sensitise the population and raise awareness through the development of different methods, allowing us to reach the entire population, from the youngest children to adults.
  • Contribute to sustainability.
  • Disseminate sustainable living.

– GAIA RIVAGES PROTECH: “Achieve a plastic-free environment in the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, which favors the emergence of new economic and circular economy opportunities for this area involving end users: citizens, local businesses, etc.”:

  • Design of an awareness campaign on ocean pollution by microplastics in the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve. For this purpose, a series of sensitizing images have been created.
  • Creation of a normative proposal. 
  • Collection and study of the different microplastics found in the sea.

– KUTXA EKOGUNEA: “Analysis and communicative action on urban gardens, consumption habits and the reduction of plastic pollution”


– DIPUTACIÓN FORAL DE GIPUZKOA: “Responsible and sustainable sports”:

  • A systematic review on the improvement of sport among teenagers aged 14 to 16 years.
  • A systematic review of the impact of pollution generated by the practice of sport.
  • Design, implementation and evaluation of an intervention with children in 4th grade of primary school.


ECOACTIVANDO: “Ekopatruilak: Ecoactivating from and for the communities”:

  • Creation of a communication plan.
  • To take action within the communities: creation of editorial graphic products to serve as a tool and motivation within them.
  • Posters to advertise the ekopatruiak in the areas to be sensitized.
  • Promotional video of the ekopatruiak.
  • Social media
  • Press releases for local media

NETWORK OF ACTORS: “Creating a network of actors to care for and protect the sea along the different river basins of Gipuzkoa”:

  • Creation of a logo, visual identity and corporate identity for the awards organized by Mater aiming to care for the environment in formal and non-formal contexts as a final result.

WASTE: “Seabin Pasaia: Study and monitoring of marine litter dispersed in the bay of Pasaia”

  • Creation of a poster with the prototypes of different informative supports (website, corporate identity and infographics) and research (sample analysis).

– T.E.O.: “How to mobilize citizens in a warning system after a storm “a gust of wind, a helping hand” (« un coup de vent, un coup main ») and thus gain in efficiency by collecting as much marine litter as possible in tide containers distributed along the coastline in collaboration with the social integration teams”:

  • Focusing T.E.O.’s communication and setting up a hub.
  • Improvement of the website so that the role of the organization is understood and to attract volunteers.
  • Proposal of communication actions to raise funds for T.E.O. (crowdfunding) and to make the brand known.
  • Establish a network of volunteers so that the public knows how to get involved with the organization and to build a community around T.E.O.


– How to transmit environmental awareness messages so that citizens take action?

–  Develop a pilot project for non-intrusive technological solutions for the collection of plastics in the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve.

– Develop tools to identify new audiences and how to approach them so that they learn about our projects (Surfrider) and about caring for the oceans through talks, classroom sessions, digital events, social media campaigns, etc.

–  Identify new sectors beyond the hotel industry in which we have already worked to move forward with the initiative to reduce the plastic generated by the consumption of bottled water in very specific contexts. 

– Develop professional and personal perspectives by identifying and acquiring skills in the field of the blue economy through awareness-raising and citizen experimentation on the coast, with the school public (students and teaching staff) as a priority.

challenges and INDIVIDUAL workS

Here is a brief description of the challenges and work carried out in the 2019-2020 academic year

'MAKE WATER CLEAN AGAIN' What are the health risks of plastic pollution of recreational waters?

This challenge was presented by RIVAGES PRO TECH, a research centre of the SUEZ group located in Bidart (France).
The students did practical and also research work that contributed to the challenge by helping to define the framework of the problem: analysing the effects of plastics on microalgae and identifying types of polluting microplastics.

INDIVIDUAL projects:

• Research on the impact of pollutants and additives in plastics on human health, i.e. their health risk: toxicity of plastics aged in the sea and tests in the Bassin d'Arcachon (Master 2 in Biology at the University of Bordeaux in collaboration with the EPOC Laboratory).
• Experimentation and analysis of the results of laboratory tests on the toxicity of plastics and health risks (experimental work on the penetration of algae by microplastics (4th degree in Biology at the UPV/EHU).


Challenge presented by MATER , the last great Basque bonito fishing boat built in wood, today converted into an Ecoactive Museum Ship.
Internships and research work will help to define and develop communication and/or social awareness plans together with health prevention actions, analyse examples such as eco-tourism and its link with waste collection.

INDIVIDUAL projects:

Development of a communication plan for Mater linked to a new line of business action, focused on expanding its services for groups to companies that might be interested (Advertising and PR / UPV/EHU Communication)
• Legal-administrative treatment of plastics that reach the sea from rainwater. (Law - UPV/EHU)
• Internship at the RESAK association - whose objective is to 'Act locally against the invasion of plastic waste' (Management international des Action Sports - Sports de glisse - University of Bordeaux)

'WE ARE ALL SURFRIDER: let's protect the ocean'

From SURFRIDER the challenge was presented to the participants, with the aim of involving more people in Surfrider's actions.
The students were doing research work that contributed . to defining a framework and making proposals to get more people involved in Surfrider's work in the field of ocean protection

INDIVIDUAL projects:

• Promote the presence of Surfrider at the educational level. Design and implement an educational intervention in the school environment (primary school). (Pedagogy- UPV/EHU)
• Propose community projects, awareness-raising actions to make Surfrider and the Oceani3 project known (Pedagogy- UPV/EHU).

'RECYCLING VS UPCYCLING' What to do with plastics recovered from the ocean?

Challenge presented by NANTEK, an innovation hub created to develop, scale up and implement industrial solutions based on nano-elements.
Practical and research work was carried out to help define the framework of the problem by answering the question: 'What to do with plastics recovered from the ocean?'


Product eco-design: the textile sector already using novel production techniques, oriented towards the circular economy (Business Administration and Management - UPV/EHU)
The food sector: evolution and economic, social and environmental consequences./ Food safety / Food loss and waste / types of industries and types of waste created by these industries (Business Administration and Management - UPV/EHU).
Water management: The origin of the different types of plastics that reach the sea, the process of water management (supply, collection and sanitation) and the responsibility of the stakeholders involved (Business Administration and Management - UPV/EHU)
Study of environmental crime as a social crime, identifying the responsibilities of the business world and focusing on the analysis of legislation and social control (Criminology - UPV/EHU).
Study of municipal regulations on the prevention of plastic waste production during festive events (Law - UPV/EHU).


This challenge of the National Union of School Sport - French Basque Country sector (UNSS64) and also involving the Sports Directorate of the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa (DFG), aimed to provide information on career opportunities in the blue and green = turquoise (coastal) economy through awareness-raising activities and citizen experimentation on the coast.
Teachers and students of the Master MI2PAS 'Management International des Projets et Produits action sports - sports de glisse' of the University of Bordeaux took part in this challenge.

INDIVIDUAL projects:

• Carrying out a documentary research on green and blue competencies,
• Elaboration of a 'test' questionnaire addressed to schoolchildren to find out their level of information and knowledge about the ocean/environment.
• The design of 'standard' awareness-raising workshops for schoolchildren in the cross-border area.

'STOP PLASTICS' 'Stop aux microplastiques/ sensibilisation et connaissance/impact'

This challenge was presented by the Directorate of 'Waters, Littoral and Natural Areas' ('Eau, Littoral et Milieux naturels) of the CAPB Communauté Agglomération Pays Basque with the aim of promoting awareness and producing knowledge of microplastics in the oceans.
Research work was carried out with the aim of developing participatory science protocols for the characterisation of the impact of microplastics from plastic sorting to engage and raise public awareness and thus generate social impact on ocean plastic pollution.

INDIVIDUAL projects:

A PhD (Ecotoxicology - Université de Bordeaux) focused on the knowledge of microplastics and their impact on the aquatic environment and field experiments in the Bassin d'Arcachon - Nouvelle Aquitaine.

Reflection on issues from
different subjects