Most of us has surely seen pictures of birds and animals, who have been caught by plastic. These depressing photos around our planet doesn´t seem to have a real effect on humans, because the consumption and manifacturing of plastic still keeps growing. At the same rate, the release of plastic into nature is increasing.
The influence is stronger, if you would experience it by yourself. When you once walk on a incredibly beautiful beach and then you suddenly realize the floating plastics in the sea, you will never forget it. Or even more effective is, when you find some marine litter on the beach and think that “well, I will just collect them”. But after a while you notice that your hands are not enough, and neither is a waste bag or two. Sea currents and winds are bringing litter with them all the time, even to those countries, who has nothing to do with consumption of plastic.
We in Finland may easily think that this is all so far away from us, so it is not our problem. We have a well-functioning recycling! But according to researches, we in Finland have the most marine litter on our beaches on the area of Baltic. In every hundred meters of beach can be found 50-280 pieces of plastic – and here we don´t even count these less than 0.5 mm microplastics. Here more than half of the marine litter ending to the seas is invisible to the eye.
Plastic is one of the biggest modern environmental problems
99 % of plastic is made by fossil fuels, and it´s effect on climate change can´t be understated. The use of plastics is a threat to healthy habitats, wild life and communities around the world. Until now only 9 % of all ever made plastic in the world has been recycled. Also the World Economic Forum estimates that plastic industry will use 2050 already fifth of the world´s oil consumption and 15 % of yearly carbon budget. The production and incineration of plastics cause already now yearly about 400 millions tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
We still know very little of the harmful effects of the plastics to the human health. Is this the reason why problem hasn´t been solved? Right now it harms most the organisms of the seas, fish, mammals and birds. And of course it harms the biodiversity and beauty of nature. It is anyway clear that plastic doesn´t belong to nature.
Solutions to the plastic problems
The real solution to the plastic problems can be found on workable recycling solutions and reduction the use and manufacturing of plastic. We have to also create real markets to recycled plastic. Although these things would be working perfectly right now, the matter has not been fixed. The plastic gyres don´t disappear by themselves. Plastics, which are already in the water systems, has to be collected and handled properly.
In our seas is about 150 millions tons of plastic right now. Those can´t be left to the waters and to decompose into microplastics. This is where the vessel of Clewat sails out. It is one of the few concretic solutions to the marine litter problem, which really works. We can collect even half millimeter sized plastics from the water and maximum our vessel collects as much as 200 cubic meters of debris per hour. With our global partners we create value chains to collected materials.
According to recent studies there is about 1000 rivers in the world, which are the biggest source of plastic entering to the seas. All these rivers should be cleaned and the waste management of those areas must be organized. The problem is that seas don´t belong to anyone – and only 7 % of them is protected – so it is easy to close your eyes from the cleaning. But rivers catch plastic with them from cities and countries. The origin is more easily found.
Year 2020 was supposed to be the crucial year for marine protection, but due to the corona pandemic all the big meetings and decisions were postponed. Companies must be involved to the marine protection – Clewat will be involved with our multipurposal vessels!