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OR&R Supports Microplastics Issue at 2023-2024 Great Lakes AquaHacking Challenge

APRIL 15, 2024 — From March 8-10, finalists of the 2023-2024 Great Lakes AquaHacking Challenge and its Water Issue Leaders convened in Traverse City, Michigan for a water innovation expedition. Haley Dalian, Great Lakes Regional Coordinator for the NOAA Marine Debris Program, within OR&R, serves as one of two Water Issue Leaders for the Microplastics topic. 

Speaker leads presentation.
Marine Debris Program Great Lakes Regional Coordinator Haley Dalian participating at the AquaHacking Challenge

Since 2015, Aqua Action’s AquaHacking Challenge has been an entrepreneurship competition that supports new generations of talent to tackle North America's pressing freshwater issues. Teams participate through a robust program to launch their water innovations, and judges ultimately select one winning startup. While the competition previously focused on regions across Canada, this is the first year with a U.S.–Great Lakes focus, as the competition is working in partnership with Northwestern Michigan College.

This competition’s four issue areas are Microplastics, Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), Lead Contamination, and Nutrient Cycling. During the expedition, finalists and subject matter experts across all disciplines participated in roundtable discussions, practice pitch sessions, networking events, and toured a drinking water plant.

To date, the AquaHacking Challenge has addressed over 35 water issues, generated 200 blue economy jobs, secured $35 million in business investments, and educated nearly 2 million people about the challenges facing freshwater. The final round of judging for this year’s cohort will take place May 10 in Traverse City. 

Last updated Friday, April 19, 2024 2:08pm PDT