Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Kiwis Schocked After International Ocean Plastic Clean Up

17 October 2018


Kiwis Part of International Ocean Plastic Clean Up left “Devastated” by Experience

New Zealanders formed part of an international team to clean up an ocean of plastic in the Caribbean Sea and educate local school children say more needs to be done at home to protect our marine environment as well.

Shannon Zaloum was one of two Kiwis who joined 300 representatives from environmental NGOs, local youth and executives from 45 countries who travelled to the once idyllic island of Roatán to remove plastic waste from the coast line.

Floating off the shores of Roatán is a giant mass of plastic waste which stretches for several kilometres. It is thought that the plastic originated from the mouth of Guatemala's Motagua River, washed down during the rainy season. Much of the rubbish washes ashore and becomes lodged in among the debris.

Zaloum from SodaStream NZ, says over a 48 hour period more than eight tonnes of plastic waste was collected - the equivalent amount to what is being dropped into the world’s oceans every 30 seconds.

“There were dozens of different types of discarded plastic products in the waste stream including toothbrushes, medicine containers, moisturisers, shoes and even Christmas decorations.

“We also picked up more than 160,000 Coke and other single use plastic bottles.

“Plastics are not biodegradable and when they enter the ocean they simply break down into smaller pieces until they turn into microparticles. These microparticles are naturally ingested by fish. It is estimated that 90 percent of seabirds have ingested plastic microparticles.

“Unfortunately, we also know the waters around NZ are not immune to this issue. The whole experience for us was devastating, it was really emotional and I found myself close to tears. The scale of what we faced was just something I hadn’t even imagined,” she says.

“We need to take the learnings from our trip and make sure we also educate our school children about the impact of microplastics in our marine ecosystem.

Zaloum says that rains due in the next week will likely bring another wave of rubbish from the river into the ocean.

Zaloum says SodaStream has funded the development of new prototype technology which is designed to clean plastic waste from open waters and is on standby in the Caribbean waiting for the next surge of plastic waste to wash downstream to the ocean.

Using a design inspired by oil spill containment systems, the 300 metre long floating device is connected to two boats. Dubbed the ‘Holy Turtle’ by its makers, it is towed by two marine vessels along kilometers of open waters. The contraption is uniquely engineered to capture floating waste while its large vent holes act to protect wildlife.

Zaloum says SodaStream’s Roatán initiative was inspired by a video filmed by Caroline Powers last year highlighting underwater photography of a floating trash patch off the Caribbean coast of Roatán.

Moved by the disturbing video, SodaStream CEO, Daniel Birnbaum, himself an experienced skipper and naval officer, lead a search for a solution to clean up this floating waste.

“We can’t clean up all the plastic waste on the planet, but we each need to do whatever we can. The most important thing is to commit ourselves to stop using single-use plastic,” he says.

The four-day mission to Honduras included participation of children from seven local schools who not only worked together with the company’s executives during the clean-up, but also received educational sessions from environmental experts to become ambassadors for the environment within their community.

“More than 8 million tons of plastic goes into the ocean every year. This plastic doesn't disappear. It breaks up into tiny particles, floats in the ocean, endangers marine life and ends up in our food chain”

“We must all put our hands together to reduce the use of single-use plastic and commit ourselves to changing our habits and go reusable,” says Birnbaum.

The plastic pollution collected by the new technology will be used to create an exhibition to raise awareness and educate consumers around the world toward reducing consumption of single use plastic in all forms including plastic cups, straws, bags and bottles.

High res images can be found here

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Ellen Rykers on The Dig: Community Conservation – The Solution To The Biodiversity Crisis?

There are backyard trapping networks doing their bit for Predator Free 2050, farmers planting native trees along their waterways, and iwi protecting whenua rāhui. There are 62 biodiversity sanctuaries across 56,000 hectares, with around two-thirds of them community-led. There are citizen scientists counting birds in their backyards and landowners conserving habitat in 3,500 Queen Elizabeth II National Trust covenants.

It’s increasingly clear that a government agency alone cannot combat the biodiversity crisis successfully. These grass-roots initiatives are a growing resource in the conservation toolbox. More>>

Closing This Weekend! Have Your Say On The Issues For NZ's New Biodiversity Strategy

Scoop and PEP invite you to help decide how we should protect and restore our biodiversity over the next 50 years using Scoop’s online engagement platform, HiveMind. HAVE YOUR SAY HERE>>

Biodiversity HiveMind Preliminary Progress Report
Open data report summarising preliminary findings of the Biodiversity HiveMind. Read Progress Report Here>>

 

PM In Japan: Jacinda Ardern’s Remarks Following Abe Summit

Today we discussed a wide range of topics. Broadly the themes were: a deeper, high-value trade and investment relationship, greater cooperation in the Pacific; and strengthening our security partnership. More>>

ALSO:

Replacing All But Chair: Twyford Appoints Five NZTA Board Members

Transport Minister Phil Twyford today announced the appointment of five new members to the NZ Transport Agency Board... There remain two vacancies on the NZTA Board which will be filled in due course. More>>

ALSO:

Climate Change: Adaptation And Risk Assessment Framework Released

“We are already experiencing the effects of a changing climate such as coastal inundation and increasingly frequent and severe droughts, floods, fires and storms. This framework is an acknowledgement that we must start adapting”, James Shaw said today. More>>

ALSO:

Ihumātao: Mana Whenua Reach Decision On Land

Māori King Tūheitia says mana whenua have finally reached consensus over what to do with Ihumātao - they want it back. More>>

ALSO:

PM To Japan, New York: Ardern To Meet Trump During UN Trip

“I’m looking forward to discussing a wide range of international and regional issues with President Trump, including our cooperation in the Pacific and the trade relationship between our countries." More>>

PM's Post-Cab: "A Way Forward"

At Monday's post-cabinet press conference, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a number of actions in response to the Labour Party's mishandling of sexual assault complaints. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Allegations Of Left Wing Media Bias

“Left wing bias” accusations date back at least to the mid 1990s... The charge of left wing bias was ridiculous then, and is ridiculous now. More>>

Next Wave Of Reforms: Gun Registration And Licensing Changes Announced

“The Bill includes a register to track firearms and new offences and penalties that can be applied extraterritorially for illegal manufacture, trafficking, and for falsifying, removing, or altering markings – which are a new requirement under the Firearms Protocol.” More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels