5 possible solutions to reduce plastic in our Oceans.
For more than 50 years, global production and consumption of plastics have continued to rise. An estimated 299 million tons of plastics were produced in 2013 and 348 million tons in 2017, confirming a significant upward trend over the past years.
People tend to forget that plastic takes in average 450 years to biodegrade in the nature, and if we compare the path and speed of plastic component used each year to the speed it actually vanishes, it is more likely in 2050 to be drowning under our consumption of plastic before it would actually biodegrade.
OUR PLASTIC WASTE IN THE OCEAN IN A FEW NUMBER:
The researchers calculated that an estimated 8 million tons are entering the ocean each year.
As a result there are five massive patches of plastic in the oceans around the world. These huge concentrations of plastic debris cover large swaths of the ocean. The one between California and Hawaii is the size of the state of Texas.
It seems essential to note that if we keep consuming plastic at this rate, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans in weight than fish.
As another and less visible collateral effect, the plastic when it biodegrades do not dissolve but instead get into smaller pieces called microplastic. The precise extend of Microplastic is still unknown at this stage while a recent study led by Greenpeace East Asia measured that 90% of table sea salt shown signs of Microplastics.
EFFORTS AROUND THE WORLD TO CUT PLASTIC production and consumption:
In terms of plastic regulation laws have been regulating very slowly the production, the last advancements within the EU reached an agreement last year on a single use plastic ban including plastic cotton swabs, cutlery, plates, straws, drink stirrers and sticks for balloons.
Vancouver became the first major Canadian city to ban plastic straws, in a move towards banning all solid waste by 2040. According to a statement, the motion passed by city council also bans the distribution of foam cups and takeout containers, and will come into effect on June 1, 2019.”
Costa Rica is taking dramatic action against plastic waste with plan to ban all single-use plastics by 2021. This includes straws, bottles, cutlery, cups and bags.
San Pedro La Laguna law 111-2016 became effective in January. It prohibits plastic bags and straws, Styrofoam containers and all packaging materials made of polystyrene.
A massive city in India, with over 20 million people, took a major step toward helping the planet when it banned all forms of single-use plastic in 2017.”
POSSIBLE Further REGULATION:
Even if on a global scale some efforts are being made it seems that we would need to regulate significantly more in order to preserve our environment against the harmful effects of plastic degradation. We listed below some possible regulations that are not yet in place and which would be a step towards regulating more efficiently the industry:
1. To forbid the production of products or devices made a 100% out of virgin plastic. Alternatively a tax on virgin plastics should be applied.
2. A specific department in each country should review and authorize the mass production of plastic devices (We still amazed to see plastic bananas carrying a banana…).
3- Instigate that all devices made of plastic materials shall be recyclable, which is far from being the case at this stage, and a huge amount of plastic produced each day is actually non recyclable. These non recyclable plastic materials shall be in the short term forbidden.
4- To invest in initiatives or lower taxes for companies who produce alternatives to plastic and being 100% recyclable in order to increase their competitivity towards plastic products.
5-To obligate the plastic producers to redistribute a fixed percentage of their profit to plastic collection NGO’S and awareness initiatives around the world, that incentivise local populations to collect plastic and raise awareness on the devastating effects of wild garbage dumping.
Efforts from all different parties (Consumers, industries and Governments) are needed to actively fight against further increase of plastic production. In order to preserve our environment and biodiversity which is considerably threatened by our current irresponsible and unsustainable consumption and production. We all seen the images of plastic destroying our various resources hence it seems that it is about time to deliver solutions equal to the the challenge that we and our future generations are facing.