Happy Earth Day 2018

The first Earth Day was on April 22, 1970, when millions of people took to the streets to protest the negative impacts of 150 years of industrial development.

Earth Day is now a global event each year, and the Earth Day Network who organizes Earth Day believes that more than 1 billion people in 192 countries now take part in what is the largest civic-focused day of action in the world.

Earth Day 2018 will focus on mobilizing the world to End Plastic Pollution, including creating support for a global effort to eliminate single-use plastics along with global regulation for the disposal of plastics.

As the President of the Rotary club of Vancouver Arbutus said on Friday, every piece of plastic that ever existed is still somewhere on the oceans or on the land of our planet. I was speaking to the club about wildlife conservation and humanitarianism as well as about my business.

A study published in Science in February 2015 calculated that 275 million metric tons (MT) of plastic waste was generated in 192 coastal countries in 2010, with 4.8 to 12.7 million MT entering the ocean. Without waste management infrastructure improvements, the cumulative quantity of plastic waste available to enter the ocean from land was predicted to increase by an order of magnitude by 2025.

4Ocean writes that every single minute the equivalent of one dump truck full of plastic enters the ocean. 4Ocean was started by two surfers after they saw local fishermen in Bali pushing their boats through alarming amounts of trash. Driven to think of a way to help solve the problem led to them employing sea captains to ‘fish’ trash out of the ocean. 4Ocean is now a global movement that allows anyone from anywhere to join the team and help in ocean trash removal efforts. They remove over 250,000 pounds of trash from the ocean and coastlines each year. In 2017 they led beach and underwater cleanups in 16 different countries.

The Guardian reports that a million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute and the number is forecast to jump another 20% by 2021 if things don’t change. More than 480 billion plastic drinking bottles were sold in 2016 across the world, up from about 300 billion a decade ago. If placed end to end, they would form a plastic path that would extend more than halfway to the sun.

But there is hope. The Guardian further reports that scientists have accidentally created a mutant enzyme that eats plastic bottles! Sometimes the most important creations are by accident. The mutant enzyme starts breaking down the plastic in just a few days which is far faster than the centuries the process takes in the oceans. The researchers are optimistic this can be sped up even further and become a viable large-scale operation.

There is no Planet B – so let’s all take care of this one!


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Alison Wheatley

Alison Wheatley

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