Plastic pollution has been a widely talked about topic in this country this summer. This summer was the “Summer of the Straw” starting with the European ban on the plastic straw. This sparked movements all over the world to reduce the amount of plastic waste generated and hauled away each year.
While local legislation stands in the way of a ban of the use of plastic bags, cups, and other products local groups like The Suncoast Rise Above Plastics Coalition fight to stop the use of plastics. The Suncoast Rise Above Plastics Coalition is 20 different groups who all come together to make sure local businesses and food establishments are not generating excess waste.
Plastic waste on the ground is not just a problem for the land. The problem then spreads to Tampas beautiful waterways. When waste is littered it is caught in drains or is blown into these bodies. Water pollution does not mean pollutants were necessarily put directly into the water. Plastic littered on the streets can and will often be taken to the sea.
The Suncoast Rise Above Plastics Coalition awards local businesses who ban the use of plastics with their “Ocean Friendly” certification. By doing this they hope to change the pollution issue by making these choices about plastics culture. If people can make habits out of reducing waste the world will begin to see a rapid decline in pollution stats.
“Across Tampa Bay, there are 13 Watergoats, netted buoys that block trash from floating further into waters. In the month of May, each caught an average of 142 pounds of garbage. Here’s the breakdown:
73%: plastic bottles
10%: Styrene containers
5%: plastic cups
4%: aluminum cans
2%: glass bottles”
Sources: Plastic waste inputs from land into ocean, 2015; Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made, 2017; Ocean Conservancy; Watergoat inventor Mark Maksimowicz.
The waste and pollution issues in Tampa reach beyond much further than just the plastic straw or the plastic bottle. It starts with the people and the laws that the people follow. The only way to bust down these issues is to make advances in legislation. Without the laws holding big businesses to strict pollution guidelines, the issues will contain to occur. It’s the decisions and things set in motion today that guarantee a clean and sustainable future for tomorrow.