Overview On Gold Medal
The gold medal criterion demonstrates that “to qualify for a gold medal, teams must complete two of three requirements, one of which is additional Human practices work. To qualify for gold teams must expand on silver medal activities by demonstrating how the investigation of Human Practices issues has been integrated into the design and/or execution of their project. ” Thus we proceeded our human practice work based on this criterion. We conducted a questionnaire survey about plastic pollution and people’s attitude towards it. We found that most of the informants realized the serious situation of white pollution but didn’t know how to tackle with it. Thus we consulted Dacheng Law Offices and government agencies about the plastic-related laws and policies, only to find that the regulations in this domain were still deficient. And we also exchanged ideas with TEDA Eco Center about pollution abatement, which rendered us strengthen our belief on PET bio-degradation. So we initiated our experiments in this summer and obtained some ideas and lab materials from specialists in this field. Additionally, we acquired considerable patronage from three enterprises, which helps us a lot with our project. To sum up, our human practice work is strongly integrated into our project in that it inspired us to work on PET degradation and instructed us to process and improve our lab work. We classify our work into four aspects, that is, topic selection, experiment, NGO communication and financial aid. So I think that our team meet this requirement and we are eligible for the gold medal this year.
Part Ⅰ: Questionnaire Survey
We made the public engaged in our project this year with the method of questionnaire survey. Actually we conducted two versions of surveys this year. The former one has been clarified in part Engagement Ⅲ: Social Media.
As for the latter one, we investigated the daily use of plastic products and the attitude of people towards the bio-degradation of plastic.
The following pictures are our partial results.
Through the survey, we realize that a majority of people have noticed recent severe plastics pollution and are not satisfied with extant disposal methods. They look forward to a better way to control the ‘white pollution’. Besides, in terms of technology of ‘white pollution’ control, most people have known something about biological plastics degradation and think highly of it. They hope that scientists will do further research. From the survey we also notice the public consciousness of ‘white pollution’ and how urgent and necessary we should fix this problem. At the same time, it reinforces our confidence and enthusiasm to solve it using biological method. We will definitely make great efforts to explore and figure out something meaningful to live up to public expectation.
Part Ⅱ: Law
Founded in 1992, Dacheng Law Offices ( Dacheng) is one of the first and largest partnership law firms in China.
From 2004, Dacheng has developed towards large-scale, standardization, professionalization， branding and internationalization, committing to exploring and reforming in the transition from individual job to the team work.
Dacheng Law Offices is home to more than 4,000 licensed attorneys worldwide. Headquartered in Beijing, Dacheng has established not only a national network but also an extensive global legal services network covering the significant cities all over the world.
Its well-designed online network management platform enables Dacheng to share integrated legal services and resources including project information, specialized knowledge, business experience, professional talents and social relations with both its home and overseas institutions on a global basis.
During the winter holiday，we were honored to attend a trial on environment issue and got acquainted with Mr. Licheng Lin, a lawyer from Dacheng Law Office in Beijing. We introduced our project to him and raised several legal questions concerning environmental protection, then he invited us to visit his office and answered our questions with great patience. Mr.Lin’s reply enabled us to have a deeper understanding of legal provisions about environment protection, and we really appreciate his support and help.
- 1. Has China promulgated any laws related to the plastic pollution currently?
No. Now we only have the Environmental Protection Law of the People''s Republic of China, which came into official enforcement as of January 1, 2015. It is the cardinal law for environmental protection in China. This Law is formulated for the purpose of protecting and improving people's environment and the ecological environment, preventing and controlling pollution and other public hazards, safeguarding human health and facilitating the development of socialist modernization. It shows that our nation shall encourage the development of education in the science of environmental protection, aim to strengthen the study and development of the science and technology of environmental protection, and raise the scientific and technological level of environmental protection and popularize scientific knowledge of environmental protection.
- 2. What result has been achieved by enforcing relevant laws and regulations?
With the introduction and enforcement of the environmental protection law, our citizens' consciousness of environmental protection has gradually enhanced and deepened, contributing to the improvement in our environment. As the Environmental Protection Law is called as ‘the strictest law in the history’ by the public，it also has the strongest enforcement. Now many citizens know that all units and individuals shall have the obligation to protect the environment and shall have the right to report on or file charges against units or individuals that cause pollution or damage to the environment. Meanwhile, the people's government gives awards to units and individuals that have made outstanding achievements in protecting and improving the environment.
- 3. Have there been any disputes over environmental issues in China at present?
Yes. Recently, environmental crime is getting increasing attention from the public. With the deteriorated pollution situation in China, the number of environmental disputes is increasing year by year at a high speed. The environmental dispute is complicated, full of uncertainty, and it involves much public interest. Especially in heavy industrial districts, environmental problems have caused much inconvenience, even some serious health threats to local residents.
- 4. In China, what＇s the severest punishment for environment pollution?
No specific items are defined in environmental laws at the moment, but if the circumstances are serious enough to constitute a crime, the offender's criminal responsibility shall be investigated and dealt with according to law. The newly revised criminal law has added the stipulation on the ‘crime of undermining environmental and resources protection’, providing an effective legal base for intensifying law enforcement and punishing crimes related to environment. The penalty works better than other methods in environment crime domain, however, it produces some negative effects at the same time, so it is important to be cautious before determining guilty and investigating criminal responsibility.
- 5. As our research topic right now is to increase the efficiency of biodegradation plastics, what should we do to apply for a patent if we succeed in development?
If inventors tend to have a fast and safe procedure of patent application, they may choose to entrust professional patent agents. The application mainly has the following steps: inquire about whether your creation is in conformity with the requirement of patent application; if it is, then figure out the patent type; sign the agency agreement and clear the obligation; determine the application; prepare application documents; verify and approve.
- 6. Is the patent admitted in China still applicable in USA?
No. The first thing to clarify is that the exercise of patent is limited to only national sovereignty so that when applied in mainland (except Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan), the right can`t be extended to USA due to its regionalism. On condition that patent owners hope to get protection in USA, they should submit applications to the United States Patent and Trademark Office in 6 months from the day they file the patent application in China based on the priority of this Chinese application.
- 7. What should we do to safeguard our rights and interests if our intellectual property is infringed?
First, ascertain the number of suspected infringing goods and the scale of operation at the crime scene. Obtain evidence from the same scene for several times. If your evidence can prove the large amount of the infringing goods and the operation scale and your repeatedly forensics can prove the operator sells the infringing goods continually, you may obtain much indemnity.
Second, ascertain the operator`s business information to avoid influencing the lawsuit efficiency due to the litigant`s own problems or other procedure matters.
Third, save the defendant`s website, propaganda materials or information kept at the relevant departments as the preliminary evidences to claim for compensation, for example, the data about their business scope, sales volume, or profits, which defendants profess and submit to some departments.
Fourth, search for the source of the infringing goods proactively and stop the infringement at the origin. In this way, you may obtain more indemnity at the same time.
Part Ⅲ: Government
A letter for help from Team Tianjin, Tianjin University Respectable Director: Hello! I’m Liyi Xu from the School of Chemical Engineering and Technology, Tianjin University. This year, our university takes part in iGEM( International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition).This year, we conducted an environmental project about biodegrading plastics by microbial organism. So, we’d like to inquire about environmental issues, please: How much plastic waste do we produce per day here in Tianjin? And what methods do we use to dispose the plastic waste generally? What measures will the government take to deal with the plastic pollution problems, now or in the future?
Agency: Hello！Thanks for following us! Team member: I’m a student from the School of Chemical Engineering and Technology, Tianjin University. This year, our team, consisting of 20 members participate in the International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition, and our theme is of environment protection about degrading plastics. Now we’d love to know more about the plastic pollution and its treatment in Tianjin, and how do we dispose the plastic waste generally at present? Would you please answer these questions for us?
Agency: Hello! Plastic for civil use is classified as general plastic, belonging to household waste, and is in the charge of Bureau of City Appearance and Garden, which you may consult for more detailed information. Team member: Hello! I’m Liyi Xu from the School of Chemical Engineering and Technology, Tianjin University. This year, our university takes part in iGEM( International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition).This year, we conducted an environmental project about biodegrading plastics by microbial organism. So, we’d like to inquire about environmental issues, please: How much plastic waste do we produce per day here in Tianjin? And what methods do we use to dispose the plastic waste generally? What measures will the government take to deal with the plastic pollution problems, now or in the future?
Part Ⅰ: Our Visit To Nankai University
We visited professor Cunjiang Song in Nankai University. We asked some questions and acquired the strains and plasimds we needed from him. We needed the strain pseudomonas putida KT2440, however, we lacked the related protocol for it. Then we found that professor Cunjiang Song had had a in-depth knowledge about it. After the corresponance, Song agreed to present us the strain we wanted. Besides giving us the strain, Song gave us some valuable advices about the improvement of enzyme activity. We were also pleased to talk about the strain with senior Ting Gong who is Song’s student. At last Song gave us the plasmid we needed. We are so grateful for the strain and plasmids Song gave us.
Part Ⅱ: Correspondence With ECUST
When constructing a controllable inducing lysis system in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803, we need the P22 genes 13,19 and 15.But to synthesize them is not an easy work. Fortunately, we got access to Prof. Liu from East China University of Science and Technology, who used a plasmid containing those genes according to her paper “A controllable bacterial lysis system to enhance biological safety of live attenuated Vibrio anguillarum vaccine”. Interested in our project, she would like to give the plasmid to us. But it’s a great pity that the strain and the plasmid were lost because of the removal. Though failed to get the genes in this way, we are grateful for Prof. Liu’s help. Here are the screenshot pictures of the e-mail records.
Part Ⅲ: Communication With BUAA
Dr. Jun Yang found a worm that could eat the plastic and we are really interested in the two bacterium which are able to degrade PE. We visited Dr. Jun Yang in Beihang University and he gave us some advice on plastic degradation and we proposed to help establish BUAA’s iGEM team. He promised that we would try our best to help BUAA build their iGEM team if they intended to have one.
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