Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Plastic Planet: New Report Focuses on Solutions

Finally, a report that offers real solutions, as well as documented scientific proof of the threats caused by Plastic Pollution to the environment, humans, wildlife and our economies.

Marine Debris As A Global Environmental Problem.

The report starts off with some humbling and devastating words:

In the remote places on earth with few or no humans present such as here on St. Brandon's islands in the Indian Ocean, one can find substantial quantities of plastic debris.

The Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel introduced a new report entitled "Marine Debris as a Global Environmental Problem: Introducing a Solutions Based Framework Focused on Plastic." But despite the somber words of this report there is some encouraging news. Firstly, the report clearly identifies the problem so it can be the focus of solutions: the problem is plastic:

Man-made debris in the oceans is now found from the poles to the equator and from shorelines, estuaries and the sea surface to ocean floor. While the types and absolute quantities vary, it is clear that plastic materials represent the major constituents of this debris, and there is no doubt about the ubiquity of such debris on a truly global scale.

Many talks on the subject of "Marine Debris," especially those funded by industry, have been avoiding discussions about plastics. The most destructive and commonly used materials that makes its way to our shores then out to the oceans and back onto shores around the globe. 

Here's where the solutions enter the picture. And you can help with this process too! It's very simple. Stop using disposable plastics. Find alternatives. Demand alternatives. Invent alternatives!! Now that your aware of the problems of plastics you can make better informed choices when shopping.

The report also acknowledges that the companies who produce the VAST amounts of disposable plastics must take part in effective management of the resulting plastic waste. Alot of cities and communities simply cannot afford to maintain a recycling infrastructure and consequently alot of the plastic waste ends up in landfills.

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner is quoted in the report with a message he delivered to the 5th International Marine Debris Conference in 2011:

 Marine debris -- trash in our oceans -- is a symptom of our throw-away society and our approach to how we use our natural resources. It affects every country and every ocean and shows us in highly visible terms the urgency of shifting towards a low carbon, resource efficient Green Economy... However, one community or one country acting in isolation will not be the answer. We need to address marine debris collectively across national boundaries and with the private sector, which has a critical role to play both in reducing the kinds of wastes that can end up in the world's oceans, and through research into new materials. It is by bringing all these players together that we can truly make a difference.

The report also cover several key points recommending strategies to implement solutions, taking into account all kinds of plastic waste and regional capacity to manage the waste. Here are some of the key points:

1. An appropriate starting point is to identify a specific problem in terms of the types of marine debris of concern (e.g., consumer waste, industrial waste, and packaging), including volumes and flows.

2. The next step is to bring together the key players in the supply chain, and organize an evidence-based dialogue aiming at the identification of ways to reduce the accumulation of debris.

3. The next step would be to facilitate the most desirable immediate and long-term options via a range of implementation strategies such as public awareness, development incentives and regulation.

4. Finally, it is crucial to measure success via monitoring of both changes in the scale of the marine debris problem identified at the outset, and assessment of the effectiveness of the individual implementation strategies and action plans.  

Key Pre-Consumer methods of reducing plastic pollution, identified in the report, that can be integrated into regional solutions include:

 1. Molecular redesign of plastics through "green" chemistry incorporated into the production of goods and packaging so that they will be safer to use and less harmful to the environment when they become waste.

2. Design criteria to develop new polymers and products including specifications to enhance reusability, recyclability or recovery of plastic once it has been used.

3. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) to help redistribute the burden of handling end-of-life plastic from governments and individuals who may be impacted by the waste, to producers whose interests would then be aligned with those of the region. 

As calls for increased study continued, the report cautions that: "lack of a complete accounting of every impact and/or methodology to control plastic pollution should not be used to delay immediate efforts to halt the accumulation of plastic pollution in our environment."

The authors of the report believe that sufficient knowledge exists to support progress on this issue now. The knowledge gaps are outlined and should be considered as means of refining actions, rather than defining or delaying them. "It is only with this type of rational approach to environmental protection that we can hope to make significant and timely reductions in any of the pollutants threatening our environment, from plastic pollution to the carbon that is warming our planet, so that we can avert disaster before all systems are overwhelmed."

Marine Debris as a Global Environmental Problem: Introducing a solutions based framework focused on plastic was prepared on behalf of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) by Richard C. Thompson (University of Plymouth, United Kingdom), Bruce E. La Belle (California Environmental Protection Agency, United States), Hindrik Bouwman (STAP, North-West University, South Africa), and Lev Neretin (STAP). The authors of the report give thanks for input from experts in the field including the United Nations Environmental Programme, Natural Resources Defense Council and Plastic Pollution Coalition.

Friday, April 20, 2012

'Earth Day' Weekend - A Call to End Plastic Ocean Pollution

As the world prepares for the Earth Day celebrations we would like to draw your attention to the very important matters of plastic pollution in our oceans. Here at Pacific TV we are pleased to hear that ocean pollution will be on the table for discussions at the Rio+ 20 Earth Summit coming this June 20th 2012, but we as citizens need to do more. If we really love this planet Earth we call home than we need to get serious about plastic pollution and finding alternative solutions.

Some may believe that it's too late and that the damage is already done to the oceans and some may disagree. As citizens, we may not be able to solve all the problems of the oceans but we certainly don't need to be contributing to it any more, so that's where we believe our personal responsibilities are as a citizen living on this planet. We can stop ocean pollution. We are the problem and we are the solution. It may be easier for some of us to blame a company or point a finger at a government entity as the ones who should be responsible for cleaning it up. But that simply is not true.  We all bear a responsibility in the solution to ocean pollution. 

You may be asking yourself: How can I help? What can I do? The answer is very simple, but challenging. It requires you to make a noticeable change in your shopping habits. First you can start off by using reusable washable canvas bags instead of disposable plastic shopping bags. AND most importantly, reusing your plastic shopping bags as "garbage bags" only ensures that it ends up in a landfill, which eventually makes its  way to the beaches and oceans. We need to stop using plastic bags altogether. They do not biodegrade, they are not compostable, and they are not earth friendly.

The next thing you can do is to look for "compostable" packaging when buying your favorite products. Avoid any plastic containers if possible. For example: Laundry Soap, buy the cardboard packaging instead of the plastic container. Some may argue that it's more expensive to purchase eco-friendly products as opposed to the cheaper plastic packaging, and some may even be on a tight budget and can't afford it. But consider this: you WILL pay eventually. You'll pay for it now, or you'll pay for it later, in hospital bills for a lifetime of eating foods contaminated with plastic chemicals. Buying products with "compostable" packing is an investment in the future. It may seem more expensive to you, but we believe its a worthy investment to consider.

The next thing you can do is, especially if you have kids, encourage the schools to sponsor plastic litter cleanup programs around the rivers and beaches in your local area. If they can make it into a field trip while teaching the kids their responsibilities of being a pollution-free citizen on this very fragile planet Earth, the kids will love it! That's the generation we have to get too before it's too late. These young minds will eventually be inventing new products and paving new ways. So lets make sure they care about the environment and consequences of not taking care of such a fragile eco-system.

Earth, it's our only home. We should have earth day everyday. There is no other planet in this solar system that we can live on. So we must take care of this one. It's not too late, as this eco-system has remarkable healing and regeneration properites if we just give the planet earth a chance to replenish herself. We do not need to be contributing to the pollution problems anymore, we can change our ways and encourage a better quality of packaging from the companies who make the products we use everyday. 

Happy Earth Day ~ Love your Mother!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

As Earth Day Approaches Let's Think About The Oceans

Trashing Our Oceans: Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Ian Somerhalder Foundation

Written by: The IS Foundation

There is a growing environmental problem that is notoriously under-reported in the media. Much of the general population is not even aware that a soup of plastic trash exists right now in the North Pacific. This area of the North Pacific is know as the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”, and is located within the North Pacific Gyre. The area is located between California and Hawaii, and between Hawaii and Japan. There are similar patches of trash in the South Pacific, North Atlantic, South Atlantic, and Indian oceans.

The trash has been traveling to these areas since World War II when people began manufacturing, using, and throwing out plastics on a large scale. Sources of the trash include sea vessels like cruise ships, freighters, and fishing boats. The garbage also comes from shorelines and waterways that feed into the ocean. Although the United States does contribute a big portion of the waste, the ocean currents pick up items from all over the world. Once in the ocean, a piece of garbage travels along the currents until it reaches the gyre. Some of the items wash up on shores around the world leading to trash covered beaches.


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Fungus Discovered in the Amazon That Eats Plastic

A solution for the Pacific Garbage Patch?

Plastic eating fungi found in Amazon.
For decades we have known that the Amazon is home to more species than almost anywhere else on Earth. Amazon Rainforest constitutes the world’s largest “pharmacy” yielding thousands of previously unknown substances found no where else.  Compounds from tropical flora relieve headaches, help treat glaucoma and provide muscle relaxants used during surgery.  The Amazon Rainforest has also yielded guanine for the treatment of malaria and periwinkle for the treatment of leukemia.  Given the rainforest’s teeming biological diversity, its value to humanity as a laboratory of natural phenomena and as a medical storehouse is priceless.

Recently, the “pharmeceutical” benefits of the Amazon have been expanded to the potential of healing the Earth from the plague of plastic waste. A group of Yale students discovered, quite by accident,  a fungus that  appears to be quite happy eating plastic in airless landfills. This fungus shows a voracious appetite for a very common group of plastics: polyurethane.

The Amazon is home to many species
Human beings have only begun to catalog & name the creatures that live here.  Home to thousands of varieties of flowering plants, the rainforest supports endless varieties of hummingbirds, butterflies & insects such a the rhinoceros beetle and the army ant.  It is also home to the spider monkey, pink & gray dolphins, Amazon river otter, piranha, anaconda, jaguar, blue and yellow macaw, toucan, harpy eagle, fishing bat, tapir sloth, tarantula, Cayman crocodile, manatee, etc.

READ FULL ARTICLE Secrets of the Amazon

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Official Trailer for "Aqua Seafoam Shame"

The official trailer of the upcoming film called "Aqua Seafoam Shame" documenting the horrors of the Pacific Garbage Patch and finding eco-friendly alternatives to disposable plastics.

The Surf Lady and her team of environmental activists embark on a journey into the plastic pollution problems in our oceans. Viewers will be shocked at the reality of this critical situation, of which most folks are unaware. With this film it is our hope and intention to raise more awareness of the problems with disposable plastics and to also encourage earth-friendly packaging such as: bioplastics.

Aqua Seafoam Shame will not only open your eyes to the pacific garbage patch, but will also offer you viable solutions and changes you can make to your shopping habits so that we are not contributing any more plastic to the oceans. Our belief is that "We are the problem, and we are the solution."

This film will also feature informative webisodes on the re-uses of plastics and how to approach companies about the devastating effects of disposable plastics as well as encouraging them to change their packaging. It will also feature a special presentation by Stuart Coleman of WaikikiSurfrider.org about the horrific shocking details that are emerging about the reality of the Pacific Garbage Patch. Did you know there is not 1 patch, there is not 2 patchs, there is 5 garbage patches!!!

All this and more coming soon in the upcoming film Aqua Seafoam Shame.

Filmmaker : thesurflady.com
Producers: hopestudios.ca
In Association with: pacific-tv.com

Special Thanks to Charles Moore for bringing the Pacific Garbage Patch to the worlds attention, and WaikikiSurfrider.org for their heroic efforts to save the oceans from pollution!!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter egg candy packs are renewable, compostable

Canadian candy company selects cellulose-based film for its stand-up pouch packaging for competitive advantage with Easter treats.

Canada’s oldest candy company, family-owned Ganong Bros Ltd. in New Brunswick, has selected a cellulose-based packaging film for its range of Easter confectionery in stand-up pouches. NatureFlex™, from Innovia Films, is a renewable,  compostable material made from wood pulp.

Explains Bruce Rafuse, Ganong vice president of marketing, “We had two primary objectives in selecting the package: first and foremost was to improve sales and distribution, and second to differentiate us from the competition. We considered several alternatives, but based upon feedback from consumers and retailers decided upon NatureFlex due to it being compostable and the distinct competitive advantage this gives us. Our ultimate goal is to move all our products into compostable pouches.”


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Upcoming Film about the Pacific Garbage Patch!

A sneak peek at the upcoming film by The Surf Lady called "Aqua Seafoam Shame" due to hit the film festivals for 2013. We'd really appreciate it if you could support our project by rating and sharing this video with all your friends on twitter and facebook! Thank you so much for your help in this important cause!!


Video by : http://HopeStudios.ca
Music by : http://seasunz-and-jbless.bandcamp.com/track/water-world-2

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