This year, the theme for World Environment Day was ‘Beat plastic pollution’
Jenna R. Jambeck, a National Geographic Explorer and Associate Professor in the College of Engineering, University of Georgia, USA expressed around 8 million tonnes of plastic waste and unwanted material pumped into the oceans every year.
The flow of plastic is a danger to over 700 species which includes, seabirds and human, marine species, she pointed out.
According to her, a research in the University of Georgia recognized the presence of plastic in baby sea turtles and other marine life.
“Research is on to find out its effect on human life from the seafood, especially from those species that consume or come in contact with plastic waste. The study on the food web is on, there is a clear understanding of the nearing danger from microplastic, it is cannot be noticed,” expressed Dr. Jenna.
Solid waste management
Solid waste management is another focus area, she expressed. Appreciating GVMC’s plan of waste segregation, she noted, the major challenge is a separation of dry and wet waste is a major challenge.
There is cutting-edge technology available, but there should be an integrated approach. All partners can play a major role. The industry has a major role to play in developing infrastructure with its CSR funds,” expressed Dr. Jenna.
Speaking about the alternative material, she expressed, “Packaging industry needs to look at things differently. In the next 5 years research is in this area and hopefully, the new material that may look like plastic but is biodegradable will be in the marketplace.”
The perfect alternative is jute or for that matter any natural material. If India is strong in this area, the jute industry should be encouraged.”
‘5 C’ approach
According to the National Geographic Explorer, who is also the Director for Circular Materials Management in the New Materials Institute at the university, what is needed today is the ‘5 C’ approach.
culture and contact, capture, collect, contain are the five Cs that needs to be integrated to fight the menace, she said.
“The issue changes from country to country, based on the culture and we need to bring all stakeholders to address the 5 Cs,” she noted.