Caribbean beaches are littered with single-use plastics

Article by Karin Kemper & Tahseen Sayed, www.blogs.worldbank.org

Concern about the world’s oceans is growing. Overfishing threatens fisheries, coral reefs caribbeanpollutionare declining and disappearing, and the number of dead zones is increasing. A dearth of waste management on land results in pollutants and debris, including plastics, finding a home in the ocean.

A new World Bank report, Marine Pollution in the Caribbean: Not a Minute to Waste, analyzes the causes and offers solutions for ocean pollution in one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, now a hotspot for marine debris, especially plastics.

In the Caribbean and around the world, plastics and other waste are more likely to end up in the oceans when waste is poorly managed, such as through open dumping, open burning, and disposal in waterways.

The marine litter found in the Caribbean comes both from the region and from northern waters, brought in by prevailing currents.

Studies have measured the concentration of plastics across the Caribbean Sea and found as many as 200,000 pieces of plastic per square kilometer in the northeastern Caribbean, according to the report.

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Five things you can do to end plastic pollution

shutterstock_699927847_0The news headlines are grim. A male pilot whale dies on a Thai beach having swallowed 80 plastics bags; images of turtles stuck in six-pack plastic rings; a sad photo of a tiny seahorse clinging to a plastic ear-bud goes viral. Plastic products wash up daily on beaches worldwide –from Indonesia to coastal west Africa, and waterways in cities are increasingly clogged with plastic waste.
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