Finding Opportunity in Plastic Waste

Marc-Antoni

Marc-Antoni is a sustainability enthusiast from Montreal, Canada. He loves sharing his passion and discoveries, and you're more than welcome to reach out.

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4 Responses

  1. Milind Joshi says:

    Good post! and completely different way of looking at issue of plastic debris in oceans. However I do not quite agree with the statement “Poverty and pollution are often closely linked”. It can not be generalized like that. If you look at world’s top ten most polluting countries (especially air-pollution), may be eight out them are not poor (if you consider China and India as poor). As of plastics, top 5 are China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and Philippines. But I agree with you that an out-of-the-box thinking is required for the solution to this issue.

  2. Marc-Antoni says:

    Thanks for the support and the feedback! I agree that an alternative way of viewing our social and environmental problems will help us solve them, and it’s exactly what I plan on conveying with this blog. As per the poverty and pollution question, it really is a complex topic, but you are certainly correct in the dangers of generalizations. Perhaps I should have given more context as to where my assertion was coming from. Looking through the historical lens (my other passion), we see how even the more developed states got there through the exploitation of people and natural resources. Japan (where I live now) is a prime example. Japan was very heavily bombed during the Second World War, with cities destroyed and countless lives lost. The Post-War years were obviously difficult, what with the economy in tatters, a flood of returning soldiers, social re-organization, etc. Yet within a couple decades their economy soared. By 1964 (the last Tokyo Olympics) Japan “re-entered” the world and has been a considerable economic power since. However it did so at the expense of the environment. Industrial pollution was rampant, and (into the 60s) Japan hosted some of the most polluted cities in the world. They were eventually able to change that as a result of social pressures from the population who were angry that their air and water were being polluted and their children poisoned, blinded, etc. The government responded, and they were able to change. China is making a similar argument today. First they want to focus on the economy and pull millions out of extreme poverty (as they have), and then they will look to apply a greater focus on pollution. But they are fast-forwarding the agenda as they have the same pressures now from the growing middle class who want to be able to breathe clean air and send their kids to school without masks or inflicting asthma. Thus passing the pollution buck to other poorer nations, or even the poor communities within the more developed states themselves. The US has so many examples of this, where unwanted or even dangerous pollution is relegated to poorer (often minority) communities. So yes, there is correlation between poverty and pollution, however you are absolutely correct in that wealthier nations do consume more than poorer ones and thus generate more pollution. Finally there also exist poor countries with relatively minimal pollution, who may still follow more traditional means of subsistence farming and thus produce minimal plastic pollution for themselves and for potential geographic or political reasons refuse to take on other states waste. This notion of shifting around our waste to more expendable communities an important one that needs to be addressed (made more aware of). The real solution is cutting back on the waste altogether, and I believe we can do that. I look forward to our future chats!

  1. April 25, 2018

    […] the glaring deficiency in the current status quo with regards our waste and the immense opportunity for it to be […]

  2. September 26, 2018

    […] novel way to put to use all that single serve plastic (see also Finding Opportunity in Plastic Waste), and convert it to something more long term. Discarded plastics still have utility and can already […]

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