Better Recycling Management Needed
A new report by http://www.aaas.org published by Sciencemag.com has revealed a disturbing reality for our ecology here and across the world. To call it a disaster is an understatement.
Plastic pollution is growing in leaps and bounds and much of it is filtering through the world’s oceans. It’s clear that some nations are treating the ocean as a garbage can while others spend a great deal to keep beaches and pollution in check.
From the Sciencemag report:
We calculate that 275 million metric tons (MT) of plastic waste was generated in 192 coastal countries in 2010, with 4.8 to 12.7 million MT entering the ocean. Unless waste management practices are improved, the flux of plastics to the oceans could increase by an order of magnitude within the next decade.
The report names the worst polluters, namely China, Indonesia, Phillipines, and Vietnam who are enjoying unprecedented economic growth. Obviously with that strong growth comes responsibility so we can only hope the UN is ready to place sanctions on these countries for their unwillingness to cease ocean dumping.
The danger of plastics in the sea are numerous. They harm or kill birds, whales, turtles and fish which get caught in the debris or try to eat it. Plastic also decompose and the tiny particulars become what’s known as microplastics. “Old plastic never dies, it just fades away…into tiny pieces called “microplastics.” Microplastics are fragments of plastic that measure less than 5 mm –as defined by NOAA” – from oceanhealthindex.org/News/Microplastics.
These small plastic decomposed particals actually become part of the living flesh of ocean fish which are consumed in human diets. It’s not fully clear how much damage microplastics will do to human beings but some say it represents one of the greatest threats to the global population.
The Problem will Only Grow Further
Each year, it’s estimated that 5 to 13 million metrics tons more plastic garbage floats into the oceans.
“researchers found that if nothing changes, as many as 155 million tons – or 10 bags of trash for every mile of coastline – could be tossed out and find its way into the oceans in 2025. Most of that increase will come from countries such as China and Vietnam, which currently rank in the top five and are expected to discard twice as many bottles and bags as their economy grows. India is also expected to jump up in the ranks from its current 12th place.” – From IBTimes report.
Considering how polluting plastics are, it’s vital we make a shift to paper packaging which is either biodegradable, uses vegetable based inks, or is at least recyclable. That reduces demand on oil based plastics and reduces the amount of refuse.
New packaging laws could severely limit the most harmful types of plastics from being used in packaging. The 2015 Suspack Conference in Orlando is addressing this serious problem of marine pollution from plastics.
Stop Marine Plastic Pollution — Ask Producers to Help Save our Seas and $8 billion per year!
Is cardboard or paperboard packaging the right solution for everyone? Perhaps not, but international governments can play a key role in mandating a reduction in plastic.
This matter will likely need to hit the crisis point before governments take action. But we can all share the news about the dangers with others. Grassroots efforts to save the planet do work. Inevitably the plastics issue will hit very close to home for you to, whether you enjoy eating seafood or not.
Tweet this post and let others know about this fast growing ecological threat that’s going to visit us all soon.