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.
Calling On All California-Based Supporters
In 2014 the State of California passed the United State’s first statewide ban on single-use plastic grocery bags. Obviously, a major victory for all of us working so hard to eradicate our human addiction to single-use plastic. Well, not so fast. Big Plastic is at it again, this time spending millions of dollars to reverse the ban before it becomes law.
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