The best option to combat this crisis is for individuals to make good decisions that will reduce the amount of plastic being produced and used. Technology is a good way to start but there are regulations and other effects that come with using new technology and advances solely made for plastic cleanup/reduction. Many of these advances are not ready and or will take too much production to even try to solve some of the problem let alone funding. The problem with this solution is that plastic will still be created and perhaps at larger quantities since companies and people will rely on technology to clean up after improper disposal. The best way is for people to take action themselves to make the difference. By people refusing plastic bags and other materials, production becomes minimal and other materials that are better for the environment are than being used more.
What are the reasons as to why you should start reducing plastic? Her Planet Earth has 9 reason why as to why we should start changing our behaviors. Plastic is made from fossil fuels, has an enormous carbon footprint, will not degrade even in hundreds of years, leaves toxins in food and drinks, causes hormonal disruption and cancer, pollutes oceans, kills/endangers species and lastly enters food chains (Her Planet Earth, n.d.). By minimizing our use, there will be a dramatic decrease in the plastics being thrown out into land and leading into the ocean. This option is recommended because other countries have this option implemented and have banned some plastics in the country. Singapore has started to make changes themselves by recycling, the government plans by 2030 to have a national rate of recycling of 70% and 30% of domestic. (Her Planet Earth, n.d.) A village in Indonesia built a better management system that would help regulate and change behavior.
This was the outcome, “These facilities employ 80 local people and have collected 3,000 tons of waste that would have otherwise potentially ended up in the ocean” (Liz Holloway, 2020). If we can all properly dispose of plastics, tons would not end up in the ocean. Another change we can implement is by helping organizations who are actively cleaning up land and oceans. We can contribute to the effort as well by taking time to clean areas where there is plastic waste. Cleanups are not the only way to help the crisis but by reducing our plastic use and cleaning up, we can make a bigger difference then not doing so. Every year, The Ocean Conservancy organizes an event and is the largest effort. “in 30 years of cleanups has collected 300 million pounds and more than 350 types of items” (Laura Parker, 2018). This is one organization doing this, if thousands other organize then the results will be even bigger. Reducing plastic use is great but the effects are greater when helping collect and clean up while doing so. The benefit is that it makes it easier to reduce what is projected in the future if nothing is done and reverse some of the damage right now.
Beach clean-up study shows global scope of plastic pollution. (2018, October 10). Environment. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2018/10/greenpeace-beach-cleanup-report-highlights-ocean-plastic-problem/
How to Reduce Plastic and Other Ocean Pollution Simultaneously. (2020, May 26). World Resources Institute. https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/05/how-to-reduce-plastic-ocean-pollution
Reduce Plastic Waste. (n.d.). #HERplanetearth. Retrieved October 22, 2020, from https://www.herplanetearth.com/reduce-plastic-waste.html