Plastics pollution film

On 19 September 2017, about 30 people attended a showing at the primary school hall of A Plastic Ocean. This is a documentary adventure film looking at the global effects of plastics pollution and the technology and policy solutions that can, if implemented in time, change things for the better.

The showing of this film reflects thought being given to widen our group’s remit, which will be considered at our AGM in November.

A Plastic Ocean (trailer on YouTube) showed the horrible problems being caused by plastic pollution throughout the world, which is killing wildlife and threatening our health.

Additional slides (click to view) were shown and discussed on the sources of plastics pollution and actions being taken to help prevent it. The slides included:

  • A landfill site near Bridgwater, which is typical of landfill operations in the UK and most European countries, which are well managed and regulated. The site has been lined with a membrane and clay and will be capped and covered when it is eventually full. Tipped waste is covered at the end of each day with inert material. Leachate (water from site) is treated and about half the gas produced is captured.
  • Studies of mis-managed plastics waste have found that over 60% entering the world’s oceans comes from five Asian countries, including China and Indonesia.
  • An action plan from Green Alliance for the UK suggests that the most effective measure would be a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles. The plan also calls for enforcement of bans on maritime waste and to stop pellet pollution from industry, treatment of waste water to catch synthetic fibres from washing clothes and a ban on microbeads in all products.
  • Previous proposals to extract plastics from giant circulations in major ocean gyres are now realised to not be feasible, as the waste breaks down into small fragments and falls to the sea floor. It is more important to prevent the continuing flow of plastics waste into our seas.
  • Plastic bank is an interesting solution to provide value for recycling plastic waste in developing countries to help stop it being thrown away.
  • WasteAid UK shares waste management and recycling skills, and aims to make lasting changes to keep communities healthy and plastic out of the oceans.
  • In the UK, charges for carrier bags have reduced use by over 80%, starting with Wales in 2011 and, eventually, England in 2015. In July 2017, Michael Gove announced there would be a ban for some microbeads in cosmetics within a year. In September 2017, the Scottish Government announced a deposit return scheme for beverage containers within a year.
  • Bristol-based consultancy, Eunomia have suggested some plastics pollution can more easily be cleaned up on beaches before it is broken into smaller pieces.

FURTHER INFORMATION:

Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management – Addicted to plastic: Microplastic pollution and prevention (reports that more than half of microplastic losses remain on land and in soils, and calls for a new plastics’ strategy)

UK Government Office for Science – Future of the Sea: Evidence Review on Plastic Pollution (reports plastic pollution can harm wildlife, human well-being and the economy; and concludes plastic waste generated by society needs to be reduced)

European Commission – Plastic pollution (action and preparing a strategy to improve recycling, cut marine litter, and remove potentially dangerous chemicals)

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