These 2 teenagers have helped change the law on plastic pollution in Indonesia
27 Jan 2020 - WEF - The young generation is finding solutions to the world's problems: Bali has introduced a plastic bag ban after Melati Wijsen's campaign; Indonesia's President has now promised to clean up the country's rivers.
27 Jan 2020 - WEF
Bali has introduced a plastic bag ban after Melati Wijsen's campaign.
Indonesia's President has now promised to clean up the country's rivers.
The young generation is finding solutions to the world's problems.
“Since I started this talk, more than 200,000 metric tons of plastic will have entered the ocean.”
That distressing fact was shared by Gary Bencheghib, young environmental activist and co-founder of Make a Change World, who had been speaking at Davos for around 20 minutes.
“There are 500 times more pieces of plastic in our ocean than there are stars in our galaxy, he said. “The truth is that there has never been a more important time to act than now.”
Bencheghib grew up on the Indonesian island of Bali where he continually encountered plastic pollution in beaches, rivers, and in the ocean.
“During big rains, our beaches are literally covered in this material. It’s completely unbearable to witness and experience.”
This is how we can feed the planet while saving the ocean
3 Sept 2019 - Aquaculture is the world’s fastest-growing form of food production and is the source of half the world’s seafood.
3 Sept 2019 - What if I showed you evidence suggesting the global supply of beef, chicken or pork could collapse over the coming decades? You might well panic at the thought.
This threat, while not eminent for land-based animals, is very real for the ocean and the critical sources of wild seafood that we harvest from them. While most of us may think of land-based sources as providing the majority of our animal protein, the ocean’s contribution to human nutrition is incredibly important. Seafood provides as many as 3 billion people with their principal sources of dietary protein. And with the United Nations predicting a global population of 9.7 billion by 2050, and potentially as many as 11 billion by the end of this century, the number of people reliant on seafood for their diets is only likely to grow.
All of which makes the current state of the ocean - and warnings about what this could mean for many of our most significant fisheries - all the more worrying. Industrial-scale fishing has led to 90% of global fish stocks being fished to their maximum. This, combined with added stressors such as ocean acidification, climate-driven coral reef diebacks, microplastic pollution and coastal habitat destruction, is making it even more difficult for our oceans, one of Earth’s primary life-support systems, to produce food for a growing population. These pressures are unparalleled in human history, and the results could be devastating for many of the fisheries on which so many communities depend.
The situation becomes even more worrying when one bears in mind that many of the more seafood-dependent nations also tend to be small island or coastal states in the relatively underdeveloped global south. These areas are expected to suffer disproportionately from the impacts of climate change, like rises in sea level, and also often lack the economic resources necessary to prioritise the development of alternative food sources.
These challenges combine to create what might feel like an insurmountable development challenge – but all is not lost. There is a secret weapon in our arsenal of sustainable solutions that you may not expect. It has the potential to meet the global demand for seafood and can have a positive impact on the wider environment and marine ecosystems when done well.
I’m referring to aquaculture – the commercial farming of fish, shellfish and seaweeds. As one of the most efficient ways of producing animal protein, aquaculture is the world’s fastest-growing form of food production and is the source of half the world’s seafood. Already, the sector is worth an estimated $243 billion globally and employs some 20 million people. But the contribution of aquaculture to global food security from ocean and marine farming - where there may be the greatest opportunity - is still relatively small in comparison to the global challenge we face.
28 June 2019 - If the ocean was an economy, it would be the seventh largest in the world.
But instead of fostering it as a resource, humans are jeopardising its future – using it as a garbage dump and fishing it dry.
Broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough has warned our waters are facing the biggest threat in their history, with industrial overfishing putting the entire ecosystem at risk. Seafood is a key source of protein for people around the world, but nearly 90% of the world’s marine fish stocks are now fully exploited, overexploited or depleted, according to Friends of Ocean Action, a group of more than 50 global leaders, convened by the World Economic Forum and World Resources Institute.
The impact of overfishing is wide-ranging. It’s a cause of degraded ecosystems, according to the WWF, and affects the size of the fish left behind, as well as how they reproduce and the speed at which they mature. When too many fish are removed from one particular spot, the resulting imbalances can kill off other marine life, including sea turtles and corals.
There’s also an economic aspect, with many businesses and jobs reliant on the fish industry. When fish are under threat, the coastal economies that depend on them are also put at risk.
Adding another layer of complexity are the illegal and unregulated practices that are difficult to track. One in three fish captured never makes it to the plate, according to Friends of Ocean Action, and it’s tricky for consumers to know whether the fish they’re eating have been caught legally.
The good news is that the plight of the ocean is rising up the international policy agenda.
Working with Stanford University’s Center for Ocean Solutions, Friends of Ocean Action is making efforts on three fronts: getting better data to help detect and eliminate illegal fishing, increasing traceability and transparency across supply chains, and encouraging international cooperation to prevent vessels from landing illegal catch.
Gender parity has a huge role to play in the fight to save our oceans
13 Jun 2019 - SDG 14 and the health of our planet is substantially less likely to be attained if 50% of the population who can help achieve these goals are ignored.
13 Jun 2019 - SDG 14 and the health of our planet is substantially less likely to be attained if 50% of the population who can help achieve these goals are ignored. Gender must be embedded in all efforts to protect the ocean and engage with it in a sustainable way.
Peter Thomson - United Nations Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Ocean, United Nations
Isabella Lövin - Minister for International Development Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden
In the coastal state of Odisha, India, women farmers have turned a crisis into an opportunity.
Cyclones, rising sea levels and increasing water salinity have devastated their communities and turned swaths of fertile ground into wasteland. For years, these women lost income, their health and nutrition suffered, and they found themselves ever more marginalised.
Then, through a development programme focussed on gender, they came up with simple, innovative solutions that helped to transform their communities. Two of these innovations were mangrove nurseries and floating gardens.
Run by women, the mangrove nurseries provided an income through growing trees to rehabilitate forest wetlands. The forests act as natural bio-shields against the tidal surges of severe storms and protect the life and property of coastal communities. Rich in biodiversity, they provide goods and services such as food, materials and aquaculture. They are also powerful carbon sinks, vital for battling climate change.
Women’s voices must be heard in the battle to save the ocean
16 Jan 2019 - WEF Annual Meeting - Gender is not embedded or mentioned in SDG 14 as it is in most of the other goals. This is a mistake. There is clear evidence that women and men in the fishing industry are treated and paid unequally.
And yet gender is not embedded or mentioned in SDG 14 as it is in most of the other goals. This is a mistake. Fishing and aquaculture are neither gender-blind nor gender-neutral. There is clear evidence that women and men in the fishing industry are treated and paid unequally. There is substantial segregation of work by gender, with men doing much of the offshore and high-value fishing, fish harvesting and aquaculture, while women are far more involved in less well-paid, or even unpaid, fish processing, harvesting of less valuable fish, sales and maintenance.
Women are rarely given a seat on the local, regional, national or international bodies that deliberate on the oceans, laws and standards that affect them. Access to funding, training, education, technology, market information and the ability to start ventures are much less available to women than to men. This lack of gender diversity stifles innovation, productivity and creativity. It stifles the solutions women could offer for creating sustainable oceans and livelihoods through fishing.
One good reason to feel less blue about the future of our ocean
10 Jan 2018 - Scientists, tech developers and entrepreneurs are making a wealth of ocean data available on an open-source, digital platform for global public good.
10 Jan 2018 - What's the story? We know our ocean is under unprecedented strain from warming, acidification, overfishing and plastic contamination, among other challenges. By applying the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and involving the right mix of public and private stakeholders, we think the Friends of Ocean Action can make a big difference to some of these problems.
Let's start with the tech. A tremendous flood of data is being generated by the advanced sensors carried by ships, satellites, ocean-going drones, fishing nets and even surfboards, but it just isn’t being fully exploited. We are working with a network of scientists, tech developers and entrepreneurs to make this wealth of data on the ocean available on a comprehensive, open-source, digital platform for the global public good.
In the same way that Interpol enables crime-fighting agencies around the world to share information, we hope this platform will help governments to restore fisheries, stop vessels that are fishing illegally from landing their catch, and help seafood businesses, retailers and individuals that rely on the ocean for their livelihoods.
15 Oct 2018 - Advancing and applying marine science and sharing it; ending illegal fishing; and extending protection to vulnerable, pivotal ocean areas.
15 Oct 2018 - WEF - Kristian Teleki, Head of the Friends of Ocean Action, Director - Sustainable Ocean Initiative, World Resources Institute
This article is adapted from a keynote speech to G7 Ocean and Environment Ministers in Halifax, Canada, on 20 September 2018.
Fighting for the ocean is one of the greatest and defining challenges of our age.
Our relationship with the ocean is at a crossroads. Humanity has a clear choice: business as usual, with continuing ocean decline that will harm every area of human development and wellbeing; or deep-seated change in our behaviour, priorities and investments in order to balance ocean protection with our socio-economic goals.
It really is a case of sink or swim.
There are three main reasons why we are at a turning point - and there are three highly-achievable steps that can set us on a course for securing a healthy, productive ocean that supports wealthy, sustainable economies.
The time is right for change, first of all, because human exploitation of the ocean is causing immense, and in some cases irreversible, damage. A third of fish stocks are unsustainably harvested, we are choking our seas with plastic and agricultural run-off, and our carbon emissions are causing unprecedented warming and acidification. The situation is critical.
The oceans provide us with so much more than food
Secondly, thanks to incredible progress in science and technology, we now know what damage we are doing, and, increasingly, understand the extent to which we rely on the ocean – not only for food, transport and recreation, but as the world’s greatest carbon sink, sheltering us from the impacts of climate change by absorbing 30% of our carbon and 90% of the heat we produce.
Ignorance, or the claim of more pressing priorities, have ceased to be an excuse.
Thirdly, there has been an explosion of interest in the ocean, by governments, by business and among the general public. Just five years ago, when the recommendations of the Global Ocean Commission were launched, one of its goals was to have a Sustainable Development Goal for the ocean. Now it seems impossible this was ever in question. We have a UN Envoy for the Ocean, UN Ocean conferences, and top billing at major gatherings like the G7.
We also have the Friends of Ocean Action brought together by the World Economic Forum, the Special Envoy for the Ocean and the Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden to fast track solutions in support of SDG14; and then the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, which brings together 12 heads of government who are committed to developing, catalysing and supporting solutions for Oocean health and wealth in policy, governance, technology and finance.
And it is the G7 and these other bodies that can make the difference - who can help turn this trifecta of opportunity into a new age of ocean action.
The ocean is open for business as never before – but we need leaders and governments to take bold decisions that lead to ocean health and wealth.
We must seize the chance to build a sustainable blue economy and develop innovative blue solutions to the world’s great challenges: climate change, food security, renewable energy and regional security.
So, how do we get there?
There are three immediate and achievable steps that will set us on the right course. First, advancing and applying marine science and sharing it with less-developed states; second, putting an end to illegal fishing; and third, extending protection to vulnerable, pivotal ocean areas.
These 11 innovations will tackle the causes of ocean plastic pollution, not just the symptoms
14 Sept 2018 - The WEF has challenged scientists, designers and other innovators to radically rethink how we make, use and reuse plastics.
14 Sept 2018 - WEF - Recent years have seen an unprecedented recognition of the rising tide of ocean plastic pollution. But it has become clear that despite significant levels of dedication, innovation and investment, clean-ups cannot keep pace. While essential for tackling the symptoms of the plastic pollution crisis, they do not address the root causes.
More than 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year, yet the three biggest clean-ups deal with just 0.5% of that pollution. This crisis urgently demands innovators, industry and governments to develop systemic solutions that prevent plastic from becoming waste in the first place. That is why the Ellen MacArthur Foundation launched its $2 million New Plastics Economy Innovation Prize last May, funded by Wendy Schmidt, Lead Philanthropic Partner of the Foundation’s New Plastics Economy initiative.
The World Economic Forum challenged scientists, designers and other innovators to radically rethink how we make, use and reuse plastics. The challenge was split into two categories, with each winner receiving a share of the $2 million prize to invest in scaling and developing their ideas.
The Circular Design Challenge focused on the vast amount of small items such as shampoo sachets, wrappers, straws and coffee cup lids that are currently not recycled and often end up in the environment.
The Circular Materials Challenge targeted the lightweight, flexible packaging used for some of our favourite, but most technically demanding, products. Around 13% of today’s packaging, such as crisp packets and food wrappers, is made of layers of different materials fused together. This multi-layer construction provides important functions like keeping food fresh but also makes the packaging difficult to recycle. Combined with the necessary infrastructure, the Circular Materials Challenge winners innovations could prevent the equivalent of 100 garbage bags per second of plastic waste being created.
Meet the Circular Design Challenge Winners
Rethinking grocery shopping
MIWA, from the Czech Republic, introduces an app that lets shoppers order the exact quantities of the groceries they need, which are then delivered in reusable packaging from the producer to their closest store or to their home.
Algramo, a Chilean social enterprise, offers products in small quantities in reusable containers across a network of 1,200 local convenience stores in Chile.
Hundreds of billions of sachets are sold each year to get small quantities of personal care and food products, such as shampoo and soy sauce, to people mostly in emerging markets. Those sachets are not recycled and many end up polluting the ocean.
Evoware, an Indonesian start-up, designs food wrappings and sachets (containing, for example, instant coffee or flavouring for noodles) made out of a seaweed-based material that can be dissolved and eaten.
Delta, from the United Kingdom, offers a compact technology that allows restaurants to make and serve sauces in edible and compostable sachets.
More than 100 billion disposable coffee cups are sold globally every year, yet today almost none of them (nor their lids) are recycled.
CupClub, based in the United Kingdom, introduces a reusable cup subscription service, in which reusable cups can be dropped off at any participating store.
TrioCup from the US offers a disposable paper cup made with an origami-like technique that removes the need for a plastic lid. The team has chosen a 100% compostable material and is working on an alternative that is 100% recyclable.
16 Jul 2018 - Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and Peter Thomson, United Nations Special Envoy for the Ocean, United Nations
The name of our planet is misleading. We call it Earth. Yet, over 70% of its surface is covered by the ocean. Sometimes we forget how essential the ocean is for the water we drink, the air we breathe, for human activity and for life. Year after year, we have been pushing the boundaries of the ocean’s sustainability, and in so doing we have been challenging our own.
The list of ocean’s troubles is long, but there is one item that demands immediate attention: harmful fisheries subsidies.
This is important because fish accounts for 17% of all animal protein consumed in the world; at 26%, this share is even higher in the poorest and least developed countries. The ocean is also an important source of income. Nearly 60 million people work in fisheries and aquaculture, and it is estimated that 200 million jobs are directly or indirectly connected with the fisheries sector.
Fish also remains one of the most traded food commodities worldwide, and 54% of this trade comes from developing countries. For these countries, the fish trade generates more income than most other food commodities combined.
For all these reasons, the sustainability of fisheries is therefore essential for the livelihoods of billions of people in coastal communities around the world, especially in developing countries, where 97% of fishermen live.
But if we stay on our current course, we will push one of the planet’s prime food sources to the limit and compromise our ambitions for a better world by 2030.
The subsidies that do harm to fisheries, and which have underpinned the dramatic decrease of fish stocks in the last 40 years, must be withdrawn by 2020. Only that way can we begin to achieve the targets that the international community signed up for when it endorsed the Sustainable Development Goals.
Where we stand now, the cost is great: harmful fisheries subsidies are estimated to total more than $20 billion a year. Not only do they fuel overexploitation, they disproportionately benefit big business. Nearly 85% of fisheries subsidies benefit large fleets, but small-scale fisheries employ 90% of all fishers and account for 30% of the catch in marine fisheries. The value of these subsidies could be used instead to invest in sustainable fisheries, aquaculture and coastal community livelihoods to reduce the pressure on fish stocks.
Fisheries subsidies come in many forms, and sometimes they are not easy to identify, but one of the main sources is fuel subsidies. Thanks to subsidies, the retail price of marine gas oil varies wildly across countries and regions, with many countries selling below the global average price.
Sustainable Development Goal 14 – which concerns the ocean – contains a target that calls on World Trade Organization members, “to prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and refrain from introducing new such subsidies” by 2020.
Global leaders adopted this goal by consensus in 2015, but for too long now, potential solutions have been postponed. Harmful fisheries subsidies have been on the table for nearly two decades, since the WTO Doha Round was launched in 2001; and in 2017, at the WTO 11th Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires, it was again agreed “to continue to engage constructively”.
These Indian fishermen take plastic out of the sea and use it to build roads
6 Jul 2018 - Fisherman in India’s southern state of Kerala are taking on the battle to cut the level of plastic waste in the oceans.
6 Jul 2018 - Every one of India’s 1.3 billion people uses an average 11kg of plastic each year. After being used, much of this plastic finds its way to the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean, where it can maim and kill fish, birds and other marine wildlife.
Fisherman in India’s southern state of Kerala are taking on the battle to cut the level of plastic waste in the oceans.
When the trawlers drag their nets through the water, they end up scooping out huge amounts of plastic along with the fish. Until recently the fishermen would simply throw the plastic junk back into the water.
But last summer Kerala’s fisheries minister J. Mercykutty Amma started a scheme to change this. Under her direction, the state government launched a campaign called Suchitwa Sagaram, or Clean Sea, which trains fishermen to collect the plastic and bring it back to shore.
In Suchitwa Sagaram’s first 10 months, fisherman have removed 25 tonnes of plastic from the Arabian Sean, including 10 tonnes of plastic bags and bottles, according to a UN report on the scheme.
From waste to roads
Once all the plastic waste caught by the Keralan fishermen reaches the shore, it is collected by people from the local fishing community - all but two of whom are women - and fed into a plastic shredding machine.
Like so many of India’s plastic recycling schemes, this shredded plastic is converted into material that is used for road surfacing.
There are more than 34,000km of plastic roads in India, mostly in rural areas. More than half of the roads in the southern state of Tamil Nadu are plastic. This road surface is increasingly popular as it makes the roads more resilient to India’s searing heat. The melting point for plastic roads is around 66°C, compared to 50°C for conventional roads.
Using recycled plastic is a cheaper alternative to conventional plastic additives for road surfaces. Every kilometre of plastic road uses the equivalent of a million plastic bags, saving around one tonne of asphalt. Each kilometre costs roughly 8% less than a conventional road.
And plastic roads help create work. As well as the Keralan fishing crews, teams of on-land plastic pickers across India collect the plastic waste. They sell their plastic to the many small plastic shredding businesses that have popped up across the country.
The need for schemes such as Suchitwa Sagaram is emphasised by research that shows 90% of the plastic waste in the world’s oceans is carried there by just 10 rivers - two of which are in India.
According to a study by the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, India’s Indus and Ganges rivers carry the second and sixth highest amounts of plastic debris to the ocean. The Indian Ocean, meanwhile, is choked with the second highest amount of plastic out of all of the world’s oceans.
Like Kerala’s fisheries minister, Indian politicians appear to be taking action in the face of this mounting crisis.
This month India’s prime minister Narendra Modi pledged to eliminate all single-use plastic in the country by 2022, starting with an immediate ban in urban Delhi.
The move came just three months after India’s western state of Maharashtra issued a ban virtually all types of plastic bag, disposable cutlery, cups and dishes, as well as plastic containers and packaging.
Residents face fines from 5,000 rupees (US$73) for a first time offence to 25,000 rupees ($367) and jail time for repeat offenders, while the state’s Environment Department is also encouraging people to recycle bottles and milk bags through a buy-back scheme.
While’s India’s plastic problem is substantial due to the size of its population and its rate of economic growth, schemes such as those in Maharashtra, Delhi and Kerala set an example to western nations.
In the US, for example each person on average generates up to 10 times the amount of plastic waste generated by their Indian counterpart.
If western nations followed India’s lead of combining political pressure with entrepreneurial ventures, perhaps the world will stand of a chance of avoiding the predicted catastrophe of there being more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050.