Among the ways of reducing and controlling trash pollution in oceans is the social conformity and adoption of the re-usable version of plastic. We should move away from the use of single-use plastics that form bulk of plastic waste polluting oceans. This implies the utilization of reusable shopping bags, and water bottles so as to decrease the per capita use of plastic bags in the world that currently stands at 45kg compared to 3kg in the late 1980’s. Smokers should also resolve to regular use of ashtrays to reduce the amounts of cigarette butts dropped on the streets, that is eventually swept away by rainwater into rivers and oceans.
In areas with high populations of smokers, governments should consider implementing public smoking bans to enforce control and ensure cigarette butts are collected at designated smoking areas and in ashtrays for to reduce the negative effects they have on the environment.
Plastic recycling should be increased and advanced recycling techniques adopted to avoid further pollution.
Recycling plastics relies on the collection of plastics which also provides employment opportunities for plastic waste collectors. Recycling also ensures there’s no introduction of “new plastic” in the environment and the consequent management towards the reduction of plastic use. Social emphasis on recycling should also be supported by people through volunteering to participate in beach and river clean-up programs and delivering the plastic waste collected to recycling plants.
We should also consider moving from the use of fossil fuels for energy because they pose a great risk to the ocean if the contamination and pollution spills into the sea water.
Oil drills in the high waters are exposed to risky accidents that have long detrimental effects on the ocean. Oil tankers in the water also end up spilling into the ocean in case of accidents leaving the same devastating consequences. (Nellemann, Hain & Alder, 43). Utilizing more wind, solar, geothermal and nuclear energy will go a long way into protecting oceans from contamination.
Consumers should also reduce the utilization of beauty and wash products that contain plastic microbeads. This entails the reduced use of face scrubs and body wash that are among the most commonly used products containing plastic particles of less than one millimeter in diameter (Duquette et.al, 66). This should correlate with producer responsibility policies that force producers of plastic products to sign liability agreements that elaborate on detailed techniques they will use in handling the plastic, and collection of used plastic and recycling. Governments should also consider implementing increased taxation on plastic production and introduction of plastic related fees to discourage manufacturers from the use of plastic and also raise sufficient revenues to support government environmental sustainability programs that deal in plastic waste management. Fines for littering the environment with plastic materials should also be implemented. In large populations and growing economies such as China, the government can consider imposing bans on the use of plastic bags to control the number of plastic bags getting to seas and oceans (Sareer, 27.
Countries should also come together and support the implementation of the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) initiative for Zero-Vision for Oceanic Plastic. Such support should be through the implementation of common international environmental support agreements by coming together to develop common plans and goals towards the reduction of plastic waste in the ocean. Mapping of the critical areas that need more emphasis such as China and the Gulf of Mexico should be dealt with by the respective countries sharing the polluted water bodies.
I believe that economic and environmental based considerations towards the reduction of trash in seas and oceans are the major challenges limiting effective waste management. Implementing preventative measures may carry a ripple effect within an economy such as loss of employment and from closing down of factories manufacturing plastic products. However, the distribution of these costs and benefits are likely to be distributed unevenly within global environmental support organizations such as UNEP. This is essential because, for instance, people living in developing countries are likely to suffer much more than the rest of the world due to many developing countries still in the growth phases of their economies and majority of their citizens might not afford alternatives to non-biodegradable plastic which is more expensive. Oil companies from developed countries should also pay hefty fines and taxes due to their negative effects done while on their overseas oil exploits. The oil spill in the Nigerian coast is still affecting the local shipping and fishing industries whereas Shell, the company responsible, continues to operate posing more threats to the environment. The costs and benefits gives a generalized figure and does not break down the figures obtained into individual self-determination to end the irresponsible use of plastic and trash getting to the ocean. This implies that efforts to protect oceans from trash will have to social responsibility if they are to make a significant impact on time.