Shutterbugs from around the world submitted more than 3,000 entries for the 2013 Environmental Photographer of the Year contest, but in the end, it was the haunting shot of a child, dressed as Spider-Man, stuck in a sandstorm in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, that took home top honors.

The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management awarded Italian photographer Michele Palazzi the £5,000 grand prize for the shot "Gone with the Dust #02" at a private ceremony on Tuesday evening at the Royal Geographical Society in London. Briton Eleanor Bennett, meanwhile, took home £1,000 as the Young Environmental Photographer of the Year for the under 18 category.

Their photos, in addition to selections from roughly 50 finalists, go on display at the Royal Geographical Society Wednesday.

CIWEM has sponsored the competition since its inception in 2007, and it said the showcase provides photographers with an opportunity to share images of environmental and social issues with an international audience. The exhibition aims to shed light on “the causes, consequences and solutions to climate change and social inequality.”

Judges this year looked at each shot’s impact, composition and originality, as well as the photographers’ technical ability, to whittle the pack down to the 50-odd shots featured at the Royal Geographical Society. The selected works examine issues such as innovation, sustainable development, poverty, human rights and population growth.

“Shock and awe, beauty and despair -- it’s all there,” said CIWEM Executive Director Nick Reeves. “These photographs … tell a breathtaking and compelling range of stories on the environment and on the condition in which we live.”

CIWEM provided International Business Times with a sneak peak at some of the winning shots before they go on display in London. Scroll down for a look.