Not all, of the articles coming out on ocean pollution are doom and gloom. Our ocean pollution update brings some of the inspiring stories from around the world, of businesses, governments and individuals taking the steps that will lead to positive change in our battle to clean up the ocean.
Indonesia Pledges $1 Billion to Clean up the Ocean
Indonesia is the second worse ocean polluter (next to China). So they know they have a big problem and now are looking to help solve it in a big way. The Minister of Maritime Affairs announced at the 2017 World Oceans Summit that they will spend $1 Billion annually to reduce their plastic pollution 70% by 2025.
Indonesia is located in the Coral Triangle, home to the world’s highest concentration of marine biodiversity. Their coral reef ecosystems provide food security and livelihood for millions of their people, consequently it is crucial for them to protect this natural resource. A recent study provided the alarming statistic that by the year 2050 there could be more plastic than fish in the ocean. (photo – UNEP Clean Seas)
The Indonesian’s plan may include; educating the public on the sustainable use of plastics; implementing a tax on plastic bags; supporting new industries that manufacture biodegradable products and providing improved waste management. This pledge is Indonesia’s response to the United Nation’s Clean Seas initiative and they have joined with nine other countries to cut plastic pollution in the ocean. see our post: UN Environment Declares War on Ocean Plastic See inhabitat for the entire story. Or go to the Clean Seas website to find actions that you can also commit to.
Kenya Bans Plastic Bags
Over 24 million plastic bags are used in Kenya each month. This translates to a 99% likelihood that if you shop in Kenya what ever you buy will be wrapped in plastic. As reported on africa.com.(photo – Standardmedia)
In addition to being a major challenge for waste disposal, plastic bags are a major cause of environmental damage and health problems. “They kill birds, fish and other animals that mistake them for food, damage agricultural land, pollute tourist sites and provide breeding grounds for the mosquitoes that carry malaria and dengue fever,”
An official statement from UNEP reads: “Kenya is taking decisive action to remove an ugly stain on its outstanding natural beauty,” See our related post: The Ocean Bottle brings attention to our Daily Plastic Waste
Getting Rid Of The Plastic Water Bottle
Did you know that Americans alone use about 50 billion plastic bottles each year and since they only recycled 23% of them, the result is a lot of plastic in landfills and in the ocean. In developing countries around the world that have no recycling options, that percentage increases. So what to do? (photo – Skipping Rocks Lab)
A small company in London called Skipping Rocks Lab has come up with a novel solution that you can sink your teeth into. The Oohu is a biodegradable and fully edible bubble of water. About the size of a golf ball, they are made from seaweed extract and you can pop them into your mouth whole or tear a hole in the skin and drink the water. Stay tuned for more on the Oohu and other innovative and sustainable, solutions to the plastic problem.. Also see our post: In the Swim with Plastics Recovered from the Sea.
Plastic Free in Principe
A small island nation off the coast of Western Africa, Principe, has big plans to be plastic free by 2020. That’s a good thing because they have a really big problem, what to do with all their plastic waste? A very common challenge shared with many developing countries with population growth outpacing waste management.
Principe boasts one of the world’s most unique egosystems with 900 species of plants, 60 species of birds and over a 100 species of fish. and more may remain to be discovered in the island’s abundant rainforests. So there is a lot to protect as reported by onegreenplanet.org.
What makes Principe unique is that its population of 8,000 is not self-sufficient and needs to import many of their basic necessities. In 2014 the island introduced a plastic exchange program. Locals bring their plastic bottles to the harbor where they are collected and shipped to Portugal for recycling. The locals can exchange 50 plastic bottles for a new, reusable metal water bottle. “It really motivates the kids more than anyone else. they collect as many botttles as they can so you hardly see any laying in the streets now.” The benefits are not purely aesthetic, “There is a visible difference” on the beaches says a Spanish scientist monitoring microplastics.
New Delhi, India Bans Plastic, ALL PLASTIC!!
Jane Goodall’s website reports that India is one of the world’s worse plastic polluters and is home to 13 of the top 20 most polluted cities. This environmental disaster has caused the city of Delhi to take drastic action. Starting at the beginning of 2017 all disposable plastic, including bags, cups and cutlery was banned.
Read our Blue Ocean post on what Mumbai is doing to rescue their beaches, that had become monumental accumulations of garbage and plastic waste. See A Date With The Ocean, an inspiring story of two men that tackled what seemed to be an insurmountable pile of trash. One year and 1500 volunteers later the world’s largest beach cleanup has collected over 3 million kilograms of trash and a grassroots movement that transcends religious, and social divides was born. (photo – Afroz Shah)
Send All Your Trash To Sweden
Here’s a switch, Sweden can’t seem to get enough trash. The country has become so successful at recycling that they must import 800,000 tons of trash each year to power its waste-to-energy program.
Only four percent of household waste ends up in landfills, the remainder is either recycled or used as fuel in its waste-to-energy power plants. Burning garbage generates 20% of Sweden’s heating needs with enough left over to provide electricity for a quarter of a million homes. The downside to all this upside is that the power plants require more waste than the Swedes produce. The only solution seems to be to produce more garbage or better yet to use someone else’s garbage. Most comes from Norway, so Norway pays Sweden to take the waste off their hands and Sweden gets the benefit of turning on the lights. (photo – Vattenfall/Flickr)
We always knew that the Swedes had a lot of things going for them, read this entire article at PRI.org.
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