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Boyan Slat is the 25-year-old Dutch entrepreneur who founded The Ocean Cleanup at the age of 18 in an effort to tackle plastic pollution in the world’s oceans. Slat’s floating device was supposed to capture plastic debris on the high seas yet late last December the project came to a halt when the device broke apart as a result of wear and tear. But then this week it seems as if the device is finally working, Slat wrote: “Our ocean cleanup system is now finally catching plastic, from one-ton ghost nets to tiny microplastics! Also, anyone missing a wheel?”
Will This Fix Ocean Plastic Pollution: Most likely not. One of the biggest challenges of slowing marine plastic pollution is preventing trash from making it into the ocean in the first place. Five countries are responsible for the bulk of the ocean’s trash and this is mostly due to the fact that they don’t have adequate trash and recycling infrastructure. But even if we go about trying to scoop up plastic in the oceans here’s the real issue, Wired explained it best:
“Ocean plastic is an insanely difficult problem in part because of the potential for collateral damage. You could deploy giant nets in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, sure, but you’d bring up hordes of ocean life along with the trash.“
You can take a look at the technology of The Ocean Project trash collector here.
“Rainfall washes more than 7 trillion pieces of microplastics,much of it tire particles left behind on streets, into San Francisco Bay each year — an amount 300 times greater than what comes from microfibers washing off polyester clothes, microbeads from beauty products and the many other plastics washing down our sinks and sewers.”
Why This Matters: While we have yet to find a silver bullet for ocean plastic we have to keep pushing for dialogue and research. As the Guardian explained, some scientists have conjectured that plastic-eating bugs might one day be sprayed on the huge plastic garbage patches in the oceans to clean them up. The more ideas, the better!
A new study by leading economists and scientists released yesterday makes a strong case for conserving at least 30% of the planet by demonstrating that investing in nature as opposed to using it up yields significantly better economic results as well as saving money that would otherwise be spent on the impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss.
Why This Matters: Since it is TBT I (Monica) will harken back to 1992’s political mantra — “it’s the economy, stupid.”
In its annual Sustainability Report, Ford Motors made several key pledges in addition to the promise to be carbon neutral as a company by 2050. In addition, they will use 100 percent locally sourced renewable energy for all manufacturing plants globally by 2035, aspire to achieve zero air emissions from our facilities, only use recycled and renewable plastics in our vehicles globally and eliminate single-use plastics from our operations by 2030, and achieve true zero waste to landfill across our operations, among other social responsibility commitments.
Why This Matters: Other car companies have focused on products — Daimler Chrysler, VW, and Tesla come to mind.
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