WASHINGTON (May 16, 2018)— As the amount of single-use plastic in the world’s oceans continues to grow, National Geographic is announcing a new, global commitment to tackle this pressing problem. Today, National Geographic is launching Planet or Plastic?, a multiyear initiative aimed at raising awareness of this challenge and reducing the amount of single-use plastic that enters in the world’s oceans. Doing so will not only benefit the thousands to potentially millions of marine animals that become entangled in, suffocated by, or ingest plastic each year, but will also contribute to the overall health of the planet’s marine ecosystems and all who rely upon them.
DAVID KLEMENT is the executive director of St. Petersburg College’s Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions, which is dedicated to advancing academic excellence, community engagement, civics literacy and public understanding through strategic partnerships and solutions-directed programs.
On April 26, the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions will sponsor a screening of “A Plastic Ocean,” a documentary film that captures in shocking detail the pollution of the world’s oceans by plastic – that ubiquitous material that seems to dominate modern life and never goes away. The event is free, but advance registration is requested at http://solutions.spcollege.edu/. It will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Digitorium on the Seminole Campus of St. Petersburg College, 9200 113th St. N.
Reflecting on that plastic pollution reminded me of the 1967 movie “The Graduate,” which starred a young Dustin Hoffman. To me, the most memorable dialogue in the movie was not in the iconic seduction scene, where Mrs. Robinson and Benjamin (played by Hoffman) engage in some hot-and-heavy banter about . . .you know. . .
Our global executive director, Julie Andersen, joined Andrew Castle on his popular talk show on the UK’s leading commercial radio broadcaster, LBC in London. The topic of conversation was the recently proposed bottle return scheme for the UK, along with general discussion on the overall problem of plastic pollution and how we solve the problem.
The Vibe Tribe and Plastic Oceans
Students from all over the world had an opportunity to discuss and seek out solutions to the environmental and humanitarian issues in our world today. 21 schools from across Asia attended the opening ceremony which was celebrated with a dinner and a private screening of the acclaimed documentary, A Plastic Ocean.
When you arrive in Rwanda at Kigali airport you will see a large sign reading, “Use of non-biodegradable polythene bags is prohibited”. That’s right, the country as a whole has banned the use of plastic bags. After the Rwandan genocide, authorities have spent time rebuilding the country and contributing to its economic progression to what it is today. Rwanda is probably Africa’s cleanest nation, and considered one of the most pristine places in the world. It wasn’t the plastic bags themselves that authorities were concerned about, but the ways in which they were being disposed of that was creating controversy. The majority of the plastic was being burned after use that released harmful and toxic pollutants throughout the air. Aside from the burning, the plastic was often disposed improperly and would cause flooding from clogging the country’s drainage systems.
With news of China’s decision to halt recycling global plastic which will boost in the production of new plastic to the tune of $185 billion dollars to plastic lobbyists…. it can seem like a losing battle for plastic pollution conscious individuals/organizations.
However, against these overwhelming odds, a significant strategic approach is developing which abandons individual agendas in favor of a collective approach to Rethink Plastic.
We have been rightly focused on the risks to water from plastics and microplastics, especially rivers, costs and open seas. The fragments seen so vividly in the stomachs of seabirds and fish in A Plastic Ocean show that they present a real hazard to biodiversity, and the food chain, ultimately leading to us!
We are pleased to publish the original press release from the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Center, announcing their ban the sale of single-use plastic water bottles:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 12, 2017
Vancouver, B.C. – The stomach of a sperm whale. The nostril of a green sea turtle. The bloodstream of a Pacific salmon. The gut of zooplankton. Plastics are being ingested by ocean wildlife across the aquatic food chain, from bottom feeders to apex predators. In response, and as part of its ongoing sustainability efforts, the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre has taken a leadership stance and today announced it is the first zoo or aquarium in Canada to discontinue its sales of single-use plastic water bottles. Instead, visitors are being asked to BYOB (bring your own bottle) when they plan their next visit.