If you’ve been keeping up with my work, I’m into upstream solutions. Here’s an example from The Ocean Cleanup which is a very necessary, but very downstream solution.
While I applaud such actions, why do these get so much airplay (and funding)? While getting rid of fossil fuel non-biodegradable plastics is not proportionally advanced as the priority it is?
The Interceptor Trashfence in Guatemala’s Rio Motagua Basin, home to what may be world’s most polluting river, did not stop this particular trash tsunami.
But this is just one of tens of thousands of such polluted waterways, and instead of putting trash fences across every river, let’s put a trash fence on our hands, on our eyes, our mouths, our noses, our grocery stores. Geofence that stuff, making it impossible to sell plastic, like Kenya did with plastic bags. It’s been working. Supply side solutions work. Anything else is just a pipedream.
End of line solutions are feel good, and inefficient. They trick us into believing band aid symptoms are enough, ignoring treatment of the root causes and sources of gross pollutants. The communities upstream, because they are not held accountable, exculpated and exonerated for their indulgences by lo-tek environmental cleaning, will continue the culture of ‘out of sight out of mind’ never really reducing the pollutant loads.
A different tactic would be to cease direct (drainage) connections to waterways, by decentralizing, distributing and applying source control storm water management approaches. By creating EPR – extended producer responsibility, this would propel manufacturers to create their own circular economies for materials and supply chains. When every piece of trash has a maker – and therefore owner, every manufacturer must take care of its trash, or pay steep fines, steep enough to put them out of business if they opt to cut corners.