The Circular Economy Can Solve Our Ocean Plastic Waste Problem

If we can design out plastic waste, we won't need to clean it up. Image: REUTERS/Antonio Bronic

Marine plastic pollution, commonly referred to as marine plastic litter, is a major global environmental problem. It harms marine species through ingestion and entanglement, violates the integrity of ecosystems, inhibits growth of marine plants, accumulates and transports pathogens that may cause disease and injuries to marine animals, plants and humans, and partly ends up in the food chain. Moreover, it causes economic losses due to reduced fishery yields, declining amenities for tourism, and damage to shipping and related infrastructure.

Some of the plastic in the oceans comes from fisheries, aquaculture, nautical activities and illegal dumping in the sea, but around 80% comes from the land. Land-based plastic pollution is caused primarily by inappropriate management of plastic packaging waste and short-lived products originating from various consumer products in numerous sectors. Read more…

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