This past month, Governor Gavin Newsom has signed 9 bills that will be put towards single-use plastic pollution, supporting recycling goals, and addressing climate change. This bill will demand that products make it clear to what is recyclable or not. In order to take control of this plastic pollution, we have to come up with more sustainable and renewable ways of recycling and becoming aware of our plastic footprint. Additional bills were passed to raise awareness for industries taking accountability for where their plastic ends up. These actions will hopefully guarantee that only exports of “truly recycled plastic” is counted towards the states waste and recycling metrics. Newsom had this to say,
“California’s hallmark is solving problems through innovation, and we’re harnessing that spirit to reduce the waste filling our landfills and generating harmful pollutants driving the climate crisis…With today’s action and bold investments to transform our recycling systems, the state continues to lead the way to a more sustainable and resilient future for the planet and all our communities.”
Through these new innovations, we are making our way towards a safer environment, and t protecting the future lives of our planet. I think Newsom is doing the right thing by taking action against this problem and promoting it to the people of California. If more people begin to learn about the importance of recycling, we all can make a change in this on going crisis and help our world a safer and much cleaner place.
In a recent post published by the United Nations News, they bring up scary news that ongoing plastic pollution is only getting worse. They explain that our economy and environment are at stake and that we only have so much time to act. One affective method they mentioned is:
an accelerated transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies, the removal of subsidies and a shift towards more circular approaches towards reduction.
By transitioning to renewable energy, we can generate more energy while emitting less harmful gases back into the air. Currently, one of the worlds main issues is not recycling properly. This comes down to creating more efficient monitoring in the recycling factories, and making sure there are no mistakes made. Even in the marketplace, companies need to make sure that they are disposing of packaging properly so that it ends up in the right place.
The Executive Director of UNEP, Inger Anderson, explains that the major concern is what’s happening with microplastics and chemical additives. These two things have a large impact on both human and wildlife ecosystems. This point leads into the main discussion of the article, which is the growing of plastic pollution. It states:
“By 2040, it will nearly triple, adding 23-37 million metric tons of waste into the ocean per year. This means about 50kg of plastic per meter of coastline. “
This is extremely dangerous, because it isn’t just certain fish or plants that deal with this problem, its the entire ocean. All animals face the risk of toxification, which could lead to a change in behavior patterns and can affect their diet. Now this is what can be dangerous to humans, because these microplastics can stay in the animal and potentially harm us when eating them. And I’m sure that no one likes the idea that your are eating plastic with your nicely cooked salmon.
Us humans need to become more aware of this growing problem and must transition into better alternatives than plastic. Whether it’s buying a reusable water bottle, Bringing a bag from home to use at the grocery store, or even just recycling after you’ve used something. All of these can make a difference in our world and make the lives of future generations safer.
A professional artist by the name of Ben Von Wong has used his artistic abilities to spread awareness on the ongoing problem of plastic pollution. His signature style of using a faucet or “tap” to depict the overflowing of plastic that is being washed into our oceans and on our beaches. Here is an image of one of his works,
This image showing a child on a playground being over run with plastic falling from the sky. Explaining that the impact of plastic isn’t only in the ocean, but even in our own cities and parks.
This year, Mr. Wong was given the chance to speak at the United Nations Climate Change Conference and brought up 10 “calls to action” which read,
1. ELIMINATE NON-ESSENTIAL SINGLE-USE PLASTIC
2. INVEST IN A CIRCULAR ECONOMY
3. FOCUS ON ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
4. ALLOCATE RESOURCES FOR CLIMATE ACTION
5. ADDRESS HUMAN EXPOSURE TO TOXIC CHEMICALS
6. EDUCATE THE PUBLIC ON THE IMPACTS OF PLASTIC – FROM PRODUCTION TO DISPOSAL
7. ADDRESS THE POLLUTION OF WATER SOURCES BY FOSSIL FUEL AND PETROCHEMICAL COMPANIES
8. ADDRESS THE POLLUTION OF AIR BY FOSSIL FUEL AND PETROCHEMICAL COMPANIES
9. PROVIDE EQUITABLE, DEMOCRATIC RECOURSE FOR COMMUNITIES MOST AFFECTED BY PLASTIC POLLUTION
10. TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION TO END THE CLIMATE CRISIS
These 10 points are very critical for addressing these on going issues and can help make smart decisions. Hopefully in the coming months, these companies will put together a plan towards these issues and deal with it in the safest way possible.
Only time will tell with this battle, but thankfully we have teams and people like Mr. Wong who are stepping up and starting to make a difference. I encourage everyone to research and learn more about the global plastic crisis and how help it. And please be sure to check out these sites and read about what is going in our environment.
In an article written by the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN), they explain the importance of coral reefs and how they impact some of our societies. Although coral reefs make up only .2% of ocean, they hold close to 25% of marine species. These ecosystems are extremely fragile and can be harmed by many things such as: global climate change, ocean acidification, and land based pollution like plastic. Another huge role that coral reefs play is economically,
“The value of goods and services provided by coral reefs is estimated at US$2.7 trillion per year, including US$36 billion in coral reef tourism.”
This is a huge industry that revolves around something so fragile. This is why, we need to step up and make sure that we do not harm these beautiful locations because of our own mistakes. Properly recycling plastic and single-use plastic has to become a rule, or else we suffer the risk of losing something as amazing places. Thankfully, we have people at the The Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN) who,
“aims to provide the best available scientific information on the status and trends of coral reef ecosystems for their conservation and management.”
In a new article published by the Las Angeles times, they have brought up recent problems with bottled water. This past year, plastic water bottle purchases have sky rocketed due to the effects of Covid-19. Early last year in the beginning stages of the lock down, citizens were scattering grocery stores stocking up on everything they could get their hands on. This caused for more people to buy bottled water because they believe it is safer than tap water. Las Angeles times has brought together research from professionals that says,
“The second thing you should know is that the market leaders for bottled water — Coke and Pepsi — are just filtering and bottling tap water, and then selling it at a big markup.”
It is absolutely crazy that these big companies are able to advertise clean “mountain water” and instead sell regular water that you could get for free at home. People need to realize that isn’t benefitting them at all, and is only hurting our environment.
“According to the Container Recycling Institute, Americans throw away more than 60 million plastic water bottles every day. Most end up in landfills, gutters and waterways.”
Statistics like this blow my mind. How could most of that end up in non-recyclable centers? If more people choose to no purchase bottled water, then there will be a lower demand for them and hopefully ceased to exist. Items that cause this much damage to our environment, should not be the No.1 beverage in America.
This past week on Friday, an oil spill began where 125,000 gallons of crude was washed ashore. In an article published by Ocean Conservancy, they said,
“We are now seeing the terrible images and videos and hearing the devastating stories coming out of California—dying and dead fish and birds coated with oil, tar balls on shores, oily surf rolling onto our beloved beaches.”
This is very sad to see, and I couldn’t imagine seeing the dead animals being washed up. This oil spill will impact a lot of marine ecosystems in that area, and will only add onto the disasters that flood the ocean. The article noted,
“Ocean Conservancy has learned how critical it is to move quickly to safely plug this breach, mobilize local and regional resources to minimize the immediate ecological impacts and hold the responsible parties accountable for the ecological and economic damage.”
Reports have said that this that they are unsure about what is to come of this tragedy, but professionals helping with ocean groups and communities, will hopefully be able to solve this issue quickly and safely.
In a recent post by Energy Live News, they talk about how plastic pollution is causing a rise in temperature. The article states:
“plastic’s contribution to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions throughout its lifecycle, the fact that extreme weather events such as floods carry and disperse plastic waste and the detrimental effect both climate change and plastic pollution have on the lives of marine animals.”
By not taking care of this problem, the islands of plastic in the ocean will only grow more and more and will become a bigger problem for the future. If floods or hurricanes become big enough, they could wash up tons of plastic onto shore and add onto the clean up.
The rise in temperature has caused for the melting of sea ice. Sea ice hold microplastics, so as the ice melts, it releases those microplastics back into the ocean. The plastic is then consumed by living organisms and causes them to die.
A Senior Technical Specialist at ZSL, named Professor Heather Koldeway, has commented that,
“Climate change is undoubtedly one of the most critical global threats of our time. Plastic pollution is also having a global impact – from the top of Mount Everest to the deepest parts of our ocean.”
Plastic pollution is an issue that we cannot let slip past us. As everyday passes, more plastic is being created and thrown away into our environment. We need to help fix this by recycling and picking up what our ancestors left behind. This issue cannot be held up any longer, so please, help make this change.
The Guardian has released an article on Britain’s recycling destination and how it has been proven to be not affective. In 2017, China banned the import of many plastic items. This forced the UK to shift their recycling to Turkey, but time has shown that it is not efficient. Over the past 5 years, the amount of British plastic exports has jumped form 12,000 to 209,642.
Greenpeace has stepped up to investigate this issue and has found that the plastic waste is from leading supermarkets which are being dumped, burned, and pilled onto each other for it to spill into rivers and eventually the sea. This is a huge problem and a solution must be found soon.
“Plastic bags and packaging from the supermarkets as well as Lucozade and Fanta bottles were dumped in fields, near rivers, on train tracks and by the roadside, Greenpeace investigators found.”
Since this investigation, Greenpeace has called out Britain to take responsibility for their actions and focus on fixing the issue. They have requested that the UK create a ban on all plastic waste exports. The article states:
“It wants to see an immediate ban on all plastic waste exports to countries that are not members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, such as Malaysia, and on mixed plastic waste to OECD countries such as Turkey.”
Hopefully within the next few months, we will see the UK make these changes and shift to a more productive way of recycling and help fix our oceans. I think that Greenpeace has done a great job of investigating these issues and cracking down on the main source of the problem. I look forward to seeing more of the Greenpeace’s efforts in helping this problem and saving our oceans one step at a time.
This week Taco Bell has developed a new way to keep their plastic sauce packets out of the ocean. TerraCycle and Taco Bell have teamed up to create a convenient and easy way of disposing their tiny sauce packets. Rather than throwing them away in the trash, you can collect them in a box or container and ship them to Terracycle using their free shipping labels. This allows them to clean and burn down the packets so they can use the plastic for other products.
“If everyone on the planet recycled one Taco Bell sauce packet, there’d still be another 420 million packets heading to a landfill in an average year.”
As someone who loves Taco Bell, I think this is a great alternative for recycling plastic sauce packets. This gives everyone an easy way to recycle and can be done in any household. I hope that this campaign goes well and becomes a standard for all Taco Bell consumers. I know in the next few months I will be sending these packets to Terracycle to help protect our oceans from more plastic.
On a daily basis, Americans use a total of 175 million straws. To put in comparison, that is almost enough to wrap around the globe. That is absolutely ridiculous. How are we able to do that everyday and not see the affects it is causing. People need to start finding alternative ways for sipping on drinks, because this is not the correct way. By simply not asking for a straw, you can prevent many casualties that happen to marine life caused by these straws.
A great alternative that I found has worked the best is metal straws. These are perfect for throwing in a backpack or even getting a portable one if you’re really fancy like that. Metal straws can be found in many supermarkets, eco-friendly stores, and most convenient of all online. Using plastic straws should not the normal and must move to a more environmentally friendly substitute.
The main issue with straws is their thin and bendy material allow for them to fall between the crevices of the recycling machines. This is why recycling companies do not accept plastic straws and end up with them being thrown into the ocean. Only 13 states have had legislative bans on single-use polystyrene. Through combining professional research and assistance, we can push for more bans on single-use plastics and work together to keep our oceans safe.