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Plastic in the oceans: legislating to pollute less

2022-07-01T21:03:42.289Z

The millions of tons of plastic, currently present in the ocean, would be impossible to evacuate. To limit future pollution, it would then be necessary to turn to the origin of this waste: the production of plastic.



This week, plastic pollution was at the heart of the debates.

In Lisbon, world leaders and experts gathered at a summit on the protection of the oceans, placed in a state

of “emergency

” by the United Nations.

Among the themes addressed, the 11 million tonnes of plastic dumped into the oceans each year.

A catastrophic environmental situation, far from improving since a UN report estimates that by 2040, this amount of plastic waste will have almost tripled.

Is this forecast still avoidable?

Read alsoIn Brest, progress before a crucial year for the protection of the oceans

The experts have consulted and for them it is a certainty, solutions exist.

Provided you demonstrate collective intelligence

,” says Henri Bourgeois Costa, expert in the field of the circular economy and plastic pollution, at the

Tara Ocean Foundation.

Researchers have been working on this question for several years.

A research group of nearly 250 scientists, made up of 56 teams and five CNRS institutes, “

Polymers and Oceans

”, has even been created to focus on the subject.

Regulation of production by laws

According to Henri Bourgeois Costa, it is important to focus on reducing plastic production, and to do this, the government is a key player.

Legislating to pollute less is, in a way, the key word.

Scientists demand in particular the cessation of waste exports outside France, the drafting of a list of the "

most problematic

" plastics to be banned, or the revision of "

poorly thought

out " standards or labels, to name a few.

than them.

To some extent, the executive has already taken ownership of the subject in recent years.

Single-use plastic, for example, will be excluded from production from 2040. During the Lisbon summit, Emmanuel Macron recalled his commitment, declaring that without delay, France will "

continue to move forward with all those who have projects to eliminate single-use plastics, invest in recycling, clean our beaches, eliminate landfills

”.

Moreover, he adds that since the summit in Brest, held in February, 500 actors have joined the global commitment to fight against plastic pollution.

Dialogue with companies

In a second step, the solutions are found alongside the economic players.

Several environmental organizations and associations offer themselves as advisers to guide companies or industries towards a reduction in plastic production.

Jean-François Ghiglione, director of research at the Banyuls-sur-Mer ocean observatory, notably takes part in business colleges with major companies, such as L'Oréal or Chanel, to help them modify their of production.

Read alsoIn the ocean, global warming is disrupting ecosystems

The objectives are multiple.

Together they try to question the volume and type of plastic used, look for alternative materials, think about natural resources or, very often, question the very usefulness of the original object.

However, it is not always easy to make a company accept that it must part with some of its products.

They think about profits, its competitiveness and the habits of its consumers.

This “

sometimes collides with the economic model in place

”, confirms Henri Bourgeois Costa.

"

That's why we need texts, laws that impose rules

," he adds.

consumer power

The consumer also has influence in the production of plastic.

The logic of the five '

r

's is regularly used by scientists;

we should learn to refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and return to the earth.

The consumer is called upon to question the products they consume, their usefulness and the alternatives available.

For example, prefer a solid soap to a liquid surrounded by plastic packaging.

Experts also point out the importance of recycling, even if today its effectiveness is limited.

According to Jean-François Ghiglione, in France, one in ten yellow bins is dumped into the ocean.

Read alsoChris Bowler: “Pollution and rising temperatures will impact ocean life”

Local actions, awareness-raising, debate or even waste collection, are, on their own scale, also changing the situation.

Microplastic, collection impossible?

Currently, the millions of tons of plastic present in the ocean would be impossible to evacuate, according to experts.

Over time, the plastic eventually degrades and becomes microplastics, far too small to be effectively removed from water.

Some scientists and organizations still continue to organize expeditions to recover as much waste as possible.

Read alsoA step to ban ocean mining

The Mobula Expedition is organized by Sea Cleaners.

The Mobula 8 - a multi-collector boat - travels the oceans and can clean an area of ​​15,000 square meters per hour and reaches objects up to 40 centimeters deep.

The objective is also to raise awareness and inform in various regions of the world.

So, if the methods used vary, scientists still agree on one point.

We must sound the alarm.

Source: lefigaro

All tech articles on 2022-07-01

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