Plastic pollution at sea could be lessened and better recycling rates achieved by the introduction of standardised global regulations, says marine waste management company Top Glory Marine (TGM).
TGM says that a set of standardised global regulations or guidelines on the treatment of waste, especially plastic, would help increase the amount of efficiently recycled materials and they believe the current disparity between countries is resulting in more plastic going to landfill or ending up in the environment.
TGM joint MD Silke Fehr says that despite the Basel convention being ratified by 189 countries, there is still a tremendous number of waste exported from industrialised countries, like the UK, Germany and USA, which transport waste to lower developed countries, such as Malaysia and Vietnam which do not have the infrastructure to support effective recycling.
Joint MD Cathrin Prikker said: “Plastic waste and the threat it poses to the environment and public health is probably the second biggest global threat after climate change. There is a lack of effective recycling or treatment strategies and a standardised set of regulations or guidelines in place for all countries.”
The waste management experts feel there should be a set of guidelines for all countries to support them in the treatment of their generated waste. On top of that the compliance with the Basel Convention should be monitored more strictly to stop exports of plastic waste to poorer countries and prevent the burden being placed on them, they said.
Although the implementation of global waste treatment guidelines and a stricter monitoring of the compliance with the Basel Convention would help to cope with the plastic waste problem, TGM places great importance on the fact that the amount of plastic waste must still be reduced.
Fehr added: “No amount of recycling is going to make up for the fact that as a society we are producing too much plastic waste. It is important that we, as a society, commit to the first and most important principle of the zero-waste hierarchy, waste prevention. The goal is to produce as little waste as possible in the first place by making conscious choices. This can mean avoiding disposable products, using reusable items, making more conscious consumption choices, and using fewer materials.”
TGM is supports customers on the journey to minimise plastic waste onboard vessels by sharing best practices and enabling monitoring of quantities discharged to keep track of sustainability targets.
Prikker said: “Many of our clients equipped their fleet with water filtration systems and thereby reducing the amount of single used water bottles, which is reflected in our web-based Enviro Cloud technology.”