First assignment of group n° 117
Resources used by the team
First description of our project
First description of our project's idea
Save the Oceans from Plastics
1. What Problem do you want to solve ?
Our project’s goal is to solve the problem of marine plastic pollution. The ocean, over 70 % of the planet, sustains life on Earth and Humans depend on the ocean for food and as a healthy ecosystem that maintains the balance of the greenhouse gas CO2. The negative impacts of plastic pollution are now becoming clear: Plastic is a non-biodegradable material, it pollutes our planet and it compromises humans’ health as well as the wildlife’s. Despite this, the production of plastic has just kept growing every year and more than 280 millions of tons are produced every year in the planet. Furthermore only 5% of it is recycled. There are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic trash in the world’s oceans Actually, most of the plastic waste worldwide ends up in the sea and when it is swirled by currents, plastic accumulates over time at the center of major ocean vortices (5 gyres) forming "garbage patches". Hundred of ocean species are threatened by these phenomena, as well as the survival of the ocean itself. Furthermore, in the ocean, sunlight and waves cause floating plastics to break into increasingly smaller particles, but they never completely disappear or biodegrade. Small ocean animals, like fish, ingest tiny plastic particles. These toxic particles pass on to us when we eat seafood. Plastic pollution of the oceans has become a global challenge. It appeared to us as a huge and important problem to solve. That’s why we decided to focus on it and to launch an open-source campaign that will answer to the following question: How to collect and recycle plastics in the oceans?
2. Why does this problem exist?
Plastic pollution has become a global catastrophe. First because plastic has become the most common material since the beginning of the 20th century and modern life is unthinkable without it. Plastic is versatile, lightweight, flexible, moisture resistant, strong, and relatively inexpensive. Its production is growing every year due to the generalization of packaging related to the evolution of marketing. The more consumption evolves, the more plastic consumption increase. Unfortunately what makes it so useful for us also makes it problematic when it comes to its end of life: it is a non-biodegradable material. Then, some of the plastics can be recycled but not all. Some of the plastics items are non-reusable and made to be used just once. They are then just thrown away every day and end up in the nature. 50% are buried in landfills and some are remade into durable goods, but much of it washes out to sea. The responsibility of the human activity is indisputable (Industry, plastic producers for the most part) The amount of floating trash is growing everyday, and a study from last year reveal that there was 245000 tons of floating trash in the ocean. This waste comes from all over the planet. The first “producer” of ocean-bound trash is China, followed by Asian countries and the United States.
3. What breakthrough are you commited to creating?
In order to face this problem, we should find a way to clean up these oceans. The thing is that we should also find a way to stop this waste, and change people’s mentality, create self-awareness because if we clean the oceans and then pollute again after, this action will be useless. We should also encourage industry to make smarter, less polluting products Some people are working on a way to create a material that would replace the plastic and we believe that it will appear very soon. It is called Fungus. But as the plastic is non-biodegradable we also think that we need to clean the oceans. Our aim is to find a way to collect and especially recycle the existent plastic, only 5% is recycled nowadays, in order to clean the oceans or at least the most polluted parts where many species and people live in order to improve their environment and their living conditions. The goal of our project is to make people care and involve them in finding the best answers to that issue.
Potential experts already identified
Please mention the potential experts (name, affiliation, likelihood to convince him/her to join the final panel)
1. Mario James, Responsibles of Local Group of Nice at Green Peace
2. Carolynn Box, Environmental Program Director at The 5 Gyres (likely to join the final panel)
3. Lisa Suatoni, Senior scientist, oceans program at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
4. Lawrence Awosika, Member of the group & marine geophysicist at Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP)
5. Michael Drexler, Fisheries Scientist, Fish Conservation Program at Ocean Conservancy