Experts call on governments to strengthen environmental regulations

To avoid the possible scenario that in 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish, world governments should harden the environmental regulations, experts say.

“When it comes to this kind of environmental issue, it really has to come from government regulations,” explained Rafael M. Santos, Professor in Applied Chemical and Environmental Sciences at Sheridan College.

He said that the regulation must have a balance between business and the environment. As an example, he suggested increasing incentives for companies who take care of the environment and penalties for those who pollute without restraint.

Regulation and awareness

Duncan Boyd, from the Ontario Ministry of Environment, agreed with Santos. In Canada’s particular situation, he said that federal government must prevent the pollution of rivers and lakes.

“When you treat the rivers as if they were just a free place to get rid of garbage and waste, obviously that creates harm. That’s why Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change has a regulatory function to prevent that,” he mentioned in an interview.

According to experts, raising social awareness about the effects of abundant plastic production can help prevent the horrible image of having an ocean full of plastic.

“We need to encourage a different way of thinking on how we make and use things and that’s a very welcome development because we have finite resources and we have a finite world, so clearly the concept of sustainability is not going to be optimal as is going to be absolutely necessary,” explained Boyd.

Twenty-fold increase in plastics

People can integrate measures into their daily routines. As one option, Dr. Santos suggested avoiding the plastic bags when you go to the supermarket.

“Just try to buy things that have less packaging so you have the choice between buy something else in a plastic container versus a glass container versus a paper box, and go away from the plastic,” he emphasized.

According to a report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and Ellen MacArthur Foundation, by 2050 the ocean will contain more plastic than fish. The report says that the production of plastic materials has increased twentyfold since 1964.

The following infographic shows how much plastic is damaging the ocean:


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