Marine Debris: Are There Solutions to this Global Environmental Problem?


Comments 5

  1. Hi Richard

    Thanks for a hugely engaging, thoughtful and accessible keynote presentation. One question that came up for me regards how some of the solutions you discuss might be implemented; you spoke quite a bit about design and prevention, but other than cultural change/education and the voluntary corporate labelling scheme you discuss, I wondered how you foresee some of these changes coming about.

    In particular, I was wondering whether you see national and international regulation as a potentially useful or necessary way of compelling product producers to act in more environmentally responsible ways.

  2. Thank you very much for your keynote Richard. This was a presentation that touched on a wide range of plastic issues and various stages of the life cycle of some single-use plastic products. I agree with Sy: all the issues you touch on are in actuality highly complex and yet you presented these in a way that was accessible to a wide range of conference attendees. I was particularly interested to learn more about the fate of plastics in deep sea sediments. Not too long ago these spaces, such as the 10K depths of the Marianna Trench were considered the last frontiers of human impact – not any more.

    Two questions arose for me from your presentation:

    I also wholeheartedly agree with the need improved design so that all current plastics produced can be recycled. My first question is, would you favour a labelling system (denoting what can and cannot be recycled) over compulsory product stewardship which ensured the production of only recyclable plastics?

    It appears from this presentations that you have some reservation as to the chemical impact of microplastics on humans, animals and ecosystems. If that is an accurate interpretation, my second question is, what do you consider to be the potential negative impacts of microbeads from sewage sludge ending up in soil?

    I look forward to seeing more questions and comments here and to enjoy a lively discussion of all the presentations as the conference progresses. Thank you once again Richard for getting the conference off to a fantastic start!

  3. I learned a lot from this keynote. Thank you Richard.
    I had lots of questions, but here is my main one:
    Given that so many environmental problems meet with denials, I was pleased to hear from you that there is no /little marine debris denial – at least not yet. Does this non-denial extend to the global plastics industries, especially packaging and other single use plastics, and if so how are they taking responsibility for these plastics at their various levels of recyclability?

  4. Hello Richard,

    Thank you very much for your very interesting keynote addressing many important issues regarding plastic.

    I was wondering why you are considering mostly design, aka a better consideration for all the stages of life of plastics, as one of the most important solution but are not considering a diminution in the production and use of single-use plastics as a solution. I agree with you that plastic has many useful uses and should not be totally eradicated, but many plastics are nowadays totally useless and can be replaced with a reusable object. Thinking only for example about plastic straws and plastic bottles (about 1 million sold every minute around the world!), we could live perfectly well with a reusable straw carried in our bag and a refillable bottle – which would also mean drinking more water and less sodas, which would not be bad at all. And let’s think about the complete non sense of selling bottles of water; some cities decided to put a ban on them in the near future, such political pressure on those industries could have an important effect on the production of such single use plastics.

    Thank you in advance for your consideration on this point.

  5. Hi Richard,
    Thanks for a very interesting keynote. I was especially interested in the section on bioplastics and the reasons they are not the answer to the problem. We choose to stock paper and reusable options over bioplastics and it was nice to hear some evidence to back this position up.

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