After what the judges described as a very, very difficult decision process, a student from Brunel university ultimately came through in the 2021 Design Innovation in Plastics competition, with a product which will help reduce pesticide spray drift.
Pol Blanch designed his product to help people in the developing world, after being inspired by his interest in agriculture and the rural issue of how to apply pesticides safely to vital crops.
The product, ‘D-Shield’, is a semi-translucent, foldable shield that minimises spray drift, blocking pesticides from drifting during application. The shield, made from low density, heat resistant polypropylene, is designed to be carried by individuals using backpack sprayers, as is often the case in developing countries, where plots are smaller and the expense of agricultural machinery is prohibitive.
According to the judges, D-Shield was both outstanding in its design and application, and addresses a fundamental problem in the environment, in line with the competition’s 2021 theme of ‘Design for a Natural World’.
“Pol applied design thinking and conducted extensive research to find a cost-effective solution to a universal problem that threatens both our society and wildlife across the world,” chairman of judges, Richard Brown, said. “His research recognises the scale of the problem and how pesticide overspray damages the natural environment. His product is well designed, and we believe that with some refinement, it is good enough to be commercialised.”