THE G20 & MARINE LITTER POLYTICS
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PLASTIC POLITICS = POLYTICS
Polytics is the politics of plastic as applied internationally in the interests of conserving marine life and the ecology of planet earth. It's not pretty, in fact the truth is ugly.
SHAPING THE FUTURE
The polytics of our nations shape what happens nationally in rivers and along coastlines, and that dictates what ends up in international waters, where there is very little policing of waste dumping at sea, even with MARPOL, a law that should perhaps be extended to include rivers as well as ships by way of international convention. Wake up IMO!
It is worse than that. At the moment no administration, or group of countries, accepts responsibility for cleaning up in international waters, even though it was waste from their territories that has accumulated to dangerous levels. It sounds irresponsible to us. Why is that?
1. The cost to their economies ?
2. The parties do not care ?
3. They've been feigning ignorance?
4. A mixture of the above?
If we had to gamble one of the above we'd plumb for 1. Having said that we cannot believe that any government does not care. It is more like turning a blind eye because everyone else is doing it.
It may be that they are trying to find a way to fund such research where their own policies might hinder progress and without any admission as to liability. Clearly, the EU cares, having put out EMFF calls for low budget proposals in 2017. That's right; low budget, for a task that is Space Race gigantic.
We are politically neutral advocates for planet earth, we just want to see policies and action plans put in place that will help to keep the planet safe for generations to come with food security featuring in the mix. You can play politics, we will concentrate on polytics.
At Hamburg in 2017 the G20 turned their back on waste in our oceans, deciding instead to seek to limit the flow by reducing single use plastic on land. Obviously, that is a good start, but it does not help marine life presently subject to toxic particles and choking nets for the next several decades at least. So long in fact that future generations cannot escape the consequences of inaction.
This smacks of potential maladministration concerning Sustainable Development Goal 14, that is a promise to act to protect marine life and to conserve the oceans. Not a promise to selectively agree inaction as it suits.
ALTERNATIVE CULLING - Health Service budget cuts mean that social care in the community is suffering, so that the elderly sometimes die from otherwise minor ailments from complications. The fact is that generally humans are living longer from better diets, housing and medicines. That is why the retirement age has been raised.
Fish in the diet has been shown to prolong life over meat eaters (red meat in particular) one reason the Japanese have so many centenarians. It could be argued that by not cleaning the oceans, population growth might be halted in the longer term when people develop cancer as a result of eating toxic fish. An unkind notion and inhumane, but surely treating cancer patients in large numbers will cost more than cleaning the oceans - unless future budget cuts mean suspending treatments - and that is the secret agenda.
Fish should carry a Government Health Warning, like cigarette packets, The same should be applied to cars powered by petrol and diesel engines. WARNING: Petrol and Diesel fuels cause Global Warming.
LAST SUPPER - If we are not careful your last portion of cod and chips will be the last safe supper from the ocean.
The G20 should either develop a policy to clean the oceans of carcinogens or put out government health warnings on seafood. That is more honest for the electorate who might then decide to vote for a party with greater transparency, to identify action of one administration over another on important issues.
Don't let anyone get elected on false promises. Get those who are elected, elected on real agendas; not public speak telling what the voters want to hear and believe - without any plan to solve the issue.
Without crude oil and the petrochemicals industry, we would not have plastic ocean waste.
That is a cold hard fact, but that does not mean that the 'Industry' is to blame, where the State is ultimately responsible for how their country is governed and for embedding an effective administration with responsible waste management and recycling, rather than ineffective poor waste management.
The Sustainable Development Goals are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice. The Goals interconnect and in order to leave no one behind, it is important that we achieve each Goal and target by 2030. Click on any specific Goal below to learn more about each issue.
SUSTAINABILITY POLICIES & RECYCLING
Who's fault is it then? Who is to blame for petroleum derived plastics entering our marine environment in such vast quantities? Is it the shopper and families throwing waste away with abandon, or is it our policy makers for not realising that this would happen if there were no safety nets?
We are all to blame in some measure, because we did not think ahead. The electorate assumed that the politicians knew what they were doing and the politicians assumed that the manufacturers had all angles covered since they employed technicians.
Okay, so everyone blames everyone else, but we still have a problem.
It is only because of responsible reporting that most people who are aware have learned of marine litter. Praise for information sharing must go to the BBC and Sir David Attenborough for the Blue Planet II series.
The Trust and Foundation are not so much concerned with blame than solving the problem. To solve any problem we need to understand the cause. Ultimately, it is the State that must carry the can for allowing its economy to operate in such fashion as to damage marine life in territorial and then international waters.
It is looking more and more likely that ocean plastic might be recovered with SeaVax like vessels and maybe even with Boyan Slat's ocean booms, rather than converted fishing craft dragging nets, or other commercial craft sporting bow adaptations. Other devices like Seabin and Sea Litter Critters could also play a part in containing the mountain of plastic that is accumulating on the oceans floors. But all of this costs.
Where each country is responsible for their own waste, it is reasonable to assume that they should pay for collection, where at the moment beach cleaning groups (for example) operate as volunteers and are not paid to collect plastic waste. Indeed, the public are paying for beach cleans with donations, taking on the role of unpaid administrators - all the while the elected administrations escape Scott-free.
ARE PLANET EARTH'S POLICIES WORKING? - If they were, we'd not have plastic poisoning the marine environment, or global warming. The problem is world leaders rely too much on fossil fuels and do not want to rock the boat until there is a solid backup plan, but the backup plan involves change. And that frightens them to stay put even though the water is already bubbling.
We cotton to that. Nobody likes change. But instead of overheating the planet and killing life undersea with toxic plastic, surely it would make sense to brave the new world and accelerate the adoption of renewables and a society that cleans up after itself. We need new sustainable infrastructures to save PLANET A and a gradual changeover plan that sits well with stakeholders. Not to have the infrastructures ready is suicide politics - the way of the Dodo.
What developers of solutions need is either:
1. An assurance of government funding to a conclusion,
2. Contracts to clean based on recovered waste, or
3. Special tax concessions for investors on land aimed at corporate sponsorship.
The Cleaner Ocean Foundation have published a 10 year plan that would see hundreds of SeaVax machines in the water, all making money for their operators after a payback period.
The Charity Commission have confirmed that the Cleaner Ocean Foundation cannot be registered as a charity despite being a not for profit organization with charitable objects, because their focus is limited to developing SeaVax. You might find that hard to believe, but that is the main reason the Commission gave, we have seen the correspondence. The focus of COF is not limited to SeaVax, they are concerned with climate change and conservation generally. It appears to the Trust that discrimination is the real reason behind such decision.
IN THE UK - Instead of being helpful, British politicians and policy makers are making ocean cleaning less likely. Brexit is another hurdle and funds said to have been committed by the G7 to plastic research cannot come to us, because of the current funding rules regarding research and development organizations being unable to lead a consortium.
International funding rules are not that different, leaving not for profit organizations that are trying to find a sustainable fix, out in the cold. As an example, taxes from plastic shopping bags does not go to plastic research in the main. These taxes are going to totally unrelated good causes.
PROTESTS - One way of drawing attention to a social problem like marine litter is to peacefully demonstrate with signs like this that say it all.
ANY IDEAS THEN? LET'S DO NOTHING - BUT MAKE A LOT OF NOISE TO MAKE IT LOOK AS THOUGH WE ARE DOING SOMETHING.
In 2017 the G20 agreed to do nothing about ocean waste. Unbelievable, but true. Twenty so-called responsible leaders sat around a table to agree not to do anything at all - even though it was their waste mismanagement (as in their municipalities, rather than themselves directly) that caused the problem.
They did agree to seek to reduce plastic use on land - leaving waste in the ocean to continue to cause harm to marine mammals and the fish we eat.
Why? Because in 2015 the Global Ocean Commission advised that it was an impossible task. But man has been to the Moon and explored Mars. It's not so much impossible as potentially expensive. Doing nothing will cost less now, but will cost more lives in between action, and be even more costly later when fish from our fisheries dry up and those that are caught will cause cancer for millions. Cancer and Chips sir?
POLITICAL BLOCKERS - In Britain in 1865, the legislative response to the increasing introduction of self-propelled vehicles on our roads was the Locomotive Act (sometimes known as the Red Flag Act). Amongst a number of provisions, it stipulated that self-propelled vehicles needed to be proceeded with a man walking 60 yards ahead carrying a red flag to warn other road users of the vehicles approach. The objective of powerful stakeholders was to hinder progress to protect their investments in horses, carriages and trains.
WORLD HEALTH - According to the World Health Organization 3 million people die each year as a result of air pollution. Exhaust fumes from diesel engines do cause cancer, a panel of experts working for the World Health Organization says.
It concluded that the exhausts were definitely a cause of lung cancer and may also cause tumours in the bladder. It based the findings on research in high-risk workers such as miners, railway workers and truck drivers.
However, the panel said everyone should try to reduce their exposure to diesel exhaust fumes.
IARC has now labelled exhausts as a definite cause of cancer, although it does not compare how risky different carcinogens are. Diesel exhausts are now in the same group as carcinogens ranging from wood chippings to plutonium and sunlight to alcohol. It is thought people working in at-risk industries have about a 40% increased risk of developing lung cancer.
THE CONSEQUENCES OF NOT CARING
If left untreated, the plastic in these gyres will impact our ecosystems, health and economies. This is a major problem now recognized by Governments. Solving the crises demands a combination of tackling the source and cleaning up what has already accumulated in the ocean.
Presently, there are only a few projects aimed at tackling ocean waste, while the G20 ignore ocean accumulation, turning their back on marine life. But ocean plastic will not go away by itself. Our rivers are pouring more into the mix every second of every day.
The pollution spreads across millions of square kilometers and travels in all directions. It is possible to stem the tide and eventually begin to filter the gyres using specially designed vessels like SeaVax.
Research shows that the majority of plastic by mass is currently in the larger debris. By removing the plastic while most of it is still large, we can make recovering dangerous microplastics easier.
THE G20 (PLASTIC) HEADS OF STATE 2018
The official position of the G20 as we write in 2019, stems from the Hamburg conference in 2017. Namely, that they will tackle ocean plastic by seeking to reduce the amount of plastic entering the oceans from land. There are no binding targets and obligations.
Their is no agreement as to tackling the existing waste in the oceans. The G20 appear content to allow marine life to suffer and humans to continue eating potentially toxic laden fish and seafood. What are they like. No wonder we have climate change protests from Extinction Rebellion and schoolchildren around the world.
GUEST NATIONS 2018
INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS 2018
OCEAN HEALTH - The IMO has been working to limit shipping emissions and dumping at sea for many years, but is only now waking up to the plastic threat, like so many others, thanks to the reporting by the BBC Blue Planet II series and Sir David Attenborough. Other than that, they appear to have been working for wealthy ship operators.
OCEAN HEALTH - We have high hopes that the most powerful world leaders will be pushing to secure fish health as part of their food security plans. That of course means curbing plastic in the oceans, making their economies plastic free.
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