The plastic problem in our oceans is tragic and it’s becoming harder to see the upsetting images of sea life devastated by plastics. Biodiversity and the future of sea life is further threatened as coral reefs and habitats are being destroyed. It is being reported more and more regularly and people (and companies) are now realising the impacts on the environment due to an increase in plastic consumption and many are now helping to raise awareness of the problem and hopefully change habits.
Plastics are a problem..
In recent years, the ocean’s plastic problem has been magnified. Awareness has spread through high profile individuals. Idols such as David Attenborough are using their platforms to show people the shocking reality. In his series Blue Planet II, the issue of plastic consumption was explored and many people including celebrities took to social media to express their feelings on the topic, discussing just how upsetting and hard it was to watch. At the end of the series, David Attenborough gives a haunting message for us all to think about: “Our actions are having a significant impact on the world’s oceans, plastic has become an intrical part of our daily lives, but every year some eight million tonnes of it ends up in the ocean and there it can be lethal.” It was this series which acted as a massive call to action for the government to put an urgent plan in place.
Since awareness has developed, MPs have launched a £20 million fund to explore alternatives to using plastic. Furthermore, Theresa May has taken action by enforcing a 25 year plan which aims to eradicate all plastic waste by 2042. In recent news, a ban on single use plastic such as straws has been announced and is set to come into place this year. Many large chain businesses have started to implement the scheme, to an extent, by hiding their straws out of view. Other strategies that have in recent years been put in place are the plastic bag charge and the microbead ban. Theresa May has addressed the issue, saying: “Plastic waste is one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world, which is why protecting the marine environment is central to our agenda at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.” Since, she has spoken about a cleaner Britain as a whole and highlighted the importance of changing our ways for the future. There are many charities that have been created to raise awareness and explore new ways of reducing the problem. The top five charities include the Marine Conservation Society, SAS (surfers against sewage) Plastic Oceans Foundation, 5 Gyres Institute and Green Peace, all are in continue need of support. There are many more charities that are continuing to grow and come up with new schemes.
Technology can help..
Technology is everywhere and has proven to cut down plastic consumption. New innovative tech’s simplicity and immediate availability, is seeing it become a highly impactful way to raise awareness and educate people. With mobile devices being used by many, the constant news updates and content to which we are all exposed has definitely increased, not in short thanks to social media. Topics such as these are not only spoke about, but the videos and articles are shared, tweeted about, posted about, etc. The power of this sometimes gets overlooked, particularly by businesses.
Apps are becoming popular…
Image credit: https://uk.lush.com
There is always something new and useful on the app store and Lush handmade cosmetics are embracing technology by using an app to replace the need for packaging. Lush are known for reducing their use of plastic and this app uses product recognition and AI to inform you about the products. It also features information and posts about the company’s ethics and what their aims are as a whole.
The Refill App
Image credit: https://www.refill.org.uk
To eliminate the use of plastic bottle use, a free app has been created so a person can locate places near to them where they can refill their bottle. Also, bars or cafes can add themselves to the map to participate. The main aim is to “make refilling your bottle as easy, convenient and cheap as possible by introducing refill points on every street”. This is such a simple yet highly effective app that will help plastic consumption decrease.
Advanced technology systems
The Ocean Clean Up
Image Credit: https://www.theoceancleanup.com
The Ocean Clean Up are set to launch their advanced technology systems mid 2018. The concept outlines the use of passive systems which work with the ocean: “By utilizing the ocean currents to our advantage, our passive drifting systems are estimated to clean up half the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 5 years’ time.” The systems are highly advanced and specifically designed to allow maximum impact and success. The system consists of a floater that will lead drifting plastic into a collection system. The device was invented by Boyan Slat at just 18 years old.
Image credit: https://recyclingtechnologies.co.uk
Recycling technologies are a British company that have developed an advanced technology called Plaxx which turns plastic into wax oils and virgin plastic. They state that: “Current recycling technology has limited capabilities, which leads to most of our “recycled” trash ending up in landfills or in the ocean.” This innovative tech helps to reduce plastic waste.
How else can technology help?
With advanced technology forever being updated, we are changing the way we impact the environment. For example, recent tech now allows GPR mapping of the oceans floor which can help with tracking and monitoring the amount of plastic down there. Furthermore, scientists are now reliant upon drone technology to “detect plastic build-up, with numerous and multi-disciplinary applications”
It is good to see innovative technology being used in such a positive way. It is also encouraging to see consumers and businesses becoming involved and reducing plastic use. Tech is forever becoming more significant in helping solve worldwide problems, and saving our oceans is one of the most significant ongoing issues that, through the power of innovative technology, we are able to look at in different ways. We are now capable of eliminating plastics from our oceans, indicating new hope for the future of our world.