YES! The problem of marine litter is not in the ocean. Marine litter is a land based problem.
The “Race for Water Odyssey” (R4WO) is a expedition that started in Bordeaux, France on 15th March 2015 expected to reach the 5 vortexes of trash and conduct the first global assessment of plastic pollution in the oceans. The aim was to highlight the scale of the problem and its consequences to the global population.
The last stopover in the South Atlantic was in Rio de Janeiro and the expedition was notably highlighted by a series of high profile events organized by Swissnex Brazil and the Consulate General of Switzerland with a campaign called “Mar sem Lixo, Mar da Gente” (Sea without trash, our sea).
I was invited to participate on the final conference that brought together a number of personalities, scientists and the general public to discuss the urgency to act and preserve our waterways from plastic pollution.
My presentation was key to demonstrate the concept of circular economy and how it could bring long term solutions to marine litter. It has brought a positive swing to the discussion and a little hope that even though there is nothing we can do once the material gets into the sea – as it is very difficult to collect the micro plastics – we can implement a number of activities on land that allow us to use resources more efficienty, add value to waste materials, influence product design, create a market pull and avoid plastic pollution in the oceans.
Following the objectives of the R4WO of raising awareness, understanding and sharing information, I believe there is plenty of opportunities in Brazil to continue this positive discussion triggered by the Race for Water expedition and develop future activities in partnership with other local experts that joined the debate.
Exchange4Change Brasil will be following the global discussion around ocean protection to ensure that circular economy plays an important role.
We have already accepted the invitaton to take part on the Race4Water Community of Water Guardians and we are committed to influence and establish a Mission Ocean Brasil in the new year. Watch out!