The issue of plastics in the world’s oceans and seas is increasingly entering mainstream conversations concerning the state of ecologically sound landscapes and seas. Globally, more plastic has been produced in the last 10 years than in all of the 20th century , 50% of plastic products are used only once and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is now the size of Texas, USA. The scale of the issue is colossal- for more information, see this blog post. A major political and societal question for today’s economy is to ask ‘Where does the power lie to reduce plastic use- the consumer or producer?’
Significant progress is being made to reduce single – use plastic, development of new alternative materials, and effort to reduce the amount of plastic in the environment. Global cooperation and governance is needed to effectively address this issue both to reduce the amount of plastic currently in the oceans and sensitive environments, as well as prevent it from reaching the oceans in the first place. Improved legislation across industries and governments are needed to ensure a coordinated approach, mirroring the global lifecycle of plastics. Pressure and advocacy from consumers and citizens will continue to be a significant contributing factor to ensuring change to the highest levels.
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