Ocean clean-up technology isn’t the solution, behaviour change is

If a bathtub was overflowing, would you grab a mop and bucket to soak up the water spilling onto the floor? No. You’d reach over and turn off the tap. We need to take the same approach to addressing plastic pollution if we hope to see long-term success. A sustainable future is achievable and accessible; the solution lies in behaviour change and other preventative methods.

A new study into ocean pollution has confirmed this, stating that cleaning up our oceans is not a viable, long-term solution. The study analysed ocean surface clean up technology and determined that this will not eliminate global plastic pollution in the long-term.

“Approximately 5.25 trillion plastic particles float on the ocean surface with concentrations of up to 580,000 plastic fragments per square kilometre,” reads the study which was published in the journal Science Direct.

“Based on the best available information on marine plastic pollution to date, our results show that removing plastic from the ocean has negligible effects due to the sheer size of the ocean surface and the magnitude of the annual plastic emissions into the natural environment.”

An evaluation of similar clean up technology in rivers concluded that such technology is more effective by comparison. However, these surface barriers do not have an impact on the waste which has already entered the ocean, as the majority of ocean pollution lies below the surface.  According to researchers, the best strategy to tackle ocean plastic is to avoid plastic entering the ocean and to improve waste management practices by implementing greater producer responsibility strategies.

“Improving waste management and recycling, and promoting a circular economy can help to reduce plastic production and thus reduce the amount of plastic waste that enters the ocean,” reads the study.

“The important message of this paper is that we can’t keep polluting the oceans and hoping that technology will tidy up the mess,” said Dr Jesse F. Abrams, of the Global Systems Institute at the University of Exeter to Forbes.

The study concluded that individuals, communities and businesses should focus their environmental efforts towards ecologically sound products and sustainable lifestyle solutions to combat plastic pollution in the ocean.

The Take 3 movement’s widespread impacts confirm our belief that small actions can make a huge difference when undertaken by many. Our behaviour change methodology taught in Take 3 programs and campaigns provides a long-term solution to plastic pollution. 

Facebook’s Connecting Benefits Report 2018 featured a case study on Take 3 which identified our ability to encourage everyday environmentalism through programs and campaigns. The case study, verified by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), found that the work of our organisation has “delivered a quantifiable impact in Australia and countries all over the world.”

Every year, over 10 million pieces of rubbish are being removed from the environment thanks to our #Take3fortheSea call to action.

Take 3 has been delivering lasting behaviour change and solutions, to students, businesses and communities in Australia and around the world for over a decade. 

How you can get involved:

  1. #Take3fortheSea – every action counts
  2. Donate to support Take 3’s programs that educate schools, businesses and communities about the problem and teach solutions
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