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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!
Why This Matters: While fishing gear that is in use is a threat to marine life like whales, abandoned fishing gear is just a tragedy waiting to happen and completely needless — eliminating it is totally within our control.
As nations across the world work to address the plastic pollution crisis–especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic–Canada made a big step in its effort to control needless plastic waste. As CNN reported, “The country plans to ban single-use plastics — checkout bags, straws, stir sticks, six-pack rings, cutlery and even foodware made from […]
The second-hand clothes trade ensures that abandoned clothes don’t pile up in landfills, and at the same time, makes it possible for the fashion industry to introduce new designs for each new season. However, Reuters reports that this system has slowed to a stop as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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