For years now, plastic has been part of our daily lives, and regardless of it being a vital presence in the contemporary world, it has been identified as a material that possesses a big threat to the marine life due to its non-biodegradability.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) estimates that there could be as many as 51 trillion microplastic particles in the ocean already and their effects on marine life have started to be felt.
There are also questionable impacts of plastic pollution on the sustainability of seafood value chain and potential health risks from harvested products, with the world aquaculture production highlighting the need to address the life cycle management of equipment and waste management.
However, while it might be easy to assume that oceans are dying, they are not dead yet. Taking action is the only way we will deal with plastic challenges and its impact on marine life.
There is an increasing scientific concern with different organizations, societies, businesses and companies that is required to integrate solutions that move away from the traditional state-based focused responses to oceanic issues.
The initial perceptions and assumptions regarding plastic use and waste are often underestimated not knowing that inventory measures can be used to map where alternatives to plastic can be used, ultimately ensuring a decrease in the overall dependency on plastic material by fishermen and the public.
Henceforth, and from the perspective of sustainable development, there is a need for research and development focus on biodegradable plastics with additional potential expansion into bioplastics.
The aquaculture industry is more than willing to use biodegradable and bioplastics but the means are not there yet. This is an indication that indeed the number of plastic wastes in the ocean call for inventive waste management solutions from creatives who see a need to save the marine life.
KCIC in partnership with What Design Can Do has seen the immense potential in new waste management innovations, and invites creative applicants to submit their innovative projects that can help solve the environmental impact of wastes by 1st April 2021. To learn more about this #NoWasteChallenge visit: https://nowaste.whatdesigncando.com/about/