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Challenges 4 & 5: the fight against marine pollution

Seven university students awarded for applying blockchain technology in the fight against climate change and marine pollution

Seven university students have been awarded for the solutions they have developed to combat climate change and marine pollution through the use of blockchain technology. This recognition was presented during the awards ceremony of the BlockchainxODS.

BlockchainxODS is an initiative driven by CBCat (Centre Blockchain de Catalunya), of the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with the Generalitat de Catalunya. The goal of this program is to familiarize students from different disciplines with blockchain technology while working in groups to respond to a real challenge directly linked to the Sustainable Development Goals. The challenge is presented by a company or entity in the region.

“Not only do we enable students to learn and get trained in this revolutionary technology with a sustainable purpose,” commented Carles Agustí, director of the BlockchainxODS program at CBCat, “but we also connect companies and talent, opening new opportunities for both students and collaborating companies.”

During today's award ceremony, the students were acknowledged for their involvement in two specific projects: one led by the organization Submon, dedicated to the preservation of marine biodiversity, and the other initiated by the Chair of Sustainable Blue Economy at the University of Barcelona in collaboration with the company Tecnoambiente. Both challenges focused on SDG 14, which promotes the conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas, and marine resources.

The winning solutions

The awarded project from the first challenge, led by students Katia Ortega Haro from Pompeu Fabra University and Laura Martín Ortega from the University of Girona, is the SeaTrace tool. It is an application designed to facilitate the collection and exchange of traceability data within the European fishing industry, from the moment of fishing to consumption. It allows consumers to identify the origin, treatment, and overall quality of the product before purchasing it.

The student Katia Ortega, in representation of the BlueChain team, receiving her award

“The diversity and connectivity have not only enriched the initiatives presented by the Sea2See project but have also structured genuine cooperative and transdisciplinary proposals. These results are a tangible example of what can be achieved when we combine creativity, knowledge, and different disciplines with a common goal,” stated Juanita Zorrilla, project manager at Submon. “The teams have shown us that technology must be useful for people, for making informed decisions and achieving better transparency in the value chain of seafood products, without losing sight of tradition, territory, and respect for nature and the value of the ocean in our lives.”

Regarding the second challenge, the prize was awarded to the Seerenity team, composed of Estela Torres Serrano from the University of Girona; Laura Jané Emo from the Autonomous University of Barcelona; Salvador Roig Fernández from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia; Júlia Mendo Cullell from the University of Barcelona, and Agustín Machiavello Benítez from the Catholic University of Uruguay. The team's proposal is a website that connects buyers and sellers of blue carbon certificates through a secure and transparent blockchain. This tool brings together investors, coastal communities, and companies committed to emission reduction, creating an efficient, transparent, and more sustainable market.

Representatives of the Seerenity team, receiving their award

“The sea plays a key role in the modern world, facilitating economic and cultural interconnections, as well as the well-being of people. The concept of the blue economy embraces all economic activities related to the sea and the coast along with their social and environmental implications,” added Miquel Canals, director of the Chair of Sustainable Blue Economy at UB. “The challenge was to apply blockchain technology to calculate the absorption of CO₂ by certain marine ecosystems, such as seagrass meadows, and the subsequent certification and monetization of captured carbon. The participating teams have done an excellent job in record time and have proposed solutions that are clearly viable and applicable.”

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