Recently, the issue of marine plastic litter has become a hot topic internationally. For example, a report on marine debris was published at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, in January 2016. Since then, many countries have been aware of the problem of marine plastic litter and have taken it as a serious problem.
According to 2019 data from Ministry of the Environment Japan, marine debris worsens the marine environment, including ecosystems, and degrades functions of coast. Especially micro plastics have become a problem, and the impact of this on the marine ecosystem is worrisome and becoming a global challenge. Marine plastic litter, as well as ecosystem and marine industries, is exerting bad influences even on humans. Countries around the world are showing trends such as planning for action to cope with marine debris and restricting imports of waste (including waste plastics), to reduce any adverse effects of marine plastic litter on the world. Since marine plastic litter is attached to every surface during the drifting process, chemical pollutants are likely to be absorbed into marine life. Also, food disorders can occur due to marine life damaged by pollution. I think we need to deal with marine plastic litter as soon as possible. In addition, the marine debris problem cannot be neglected because of the decrease in the amount of fish caught in fishing nets or tourism income if the sea gets dirty.
As a solution to the marine plastic litter problem, most of all, I think we must keep the “3R” that Japan’s Ministry of Environment has put forward. 3R means “Reduce,” “Reuse,” and “Recycle,” all three of which contributes to reducing plastic litter. I think people need to be conscious of this and concentrate on reducing marine debris. Secondly, we should “reduce,” thoroughly. Since I believe it is important to restrain plastic container packaging or product, it is necessary to ensure that plastic containers and products should not be used or disposed unnecessarily. Among the systems already mandated in Japan, for example, plastic bags should be paid, and the straws of cafes are replaced with paper, not plastic. Following these restrictions on the use of plastic in many stores, many consumers must also reform their lifestyles to reduce plastic consumption.
On the issue of marine debris, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) says that networks at the world level are important because many people do not fully understand the content of marine pollution. In other words, they point out that each person should make efforts to solve the problem of marine plastic litter after fully understanding the actual content of marine pollution. In order to solve the global problem of marine plastic litter, I think many countries should cooperate with each other and focus on marine debris. Also, individual efforts will be needed, not completely left to the governments.
Lee Chae-yeon firstname.lastname@example.org
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