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How India's Fishermen Turn Ocean Plastic Into Roads

Business  (tags: Kerala, fishermen, plastic, nets, hauling waste, recycling, single-use plastics, pledge, reduction of use, cleaning, clearing, sustainable project, sorting, roads, National Geographic )

- 10 days ago -
In an innovative project, fishermen in Kerala collect ocean plastic for recycling, cleaning the ocean in the process. Nearly 5,000 other fishermen and boat owners in Kollam have been hauling back to land all the plastic that they find while at sea

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Evelyn B (62)
Thursday June 14, 2018, 10:34 am
"With help from several government agencies, they’ve also set up the first-ever recycling center in the region, to clean, sort, and process all the sea-tossed plastic bags, bottles, straws, flip-flops, and drowned Barbies that they fish out. So far, they’ve collected about 65 metric tons (71 short tons) of plastic waste."

The system isn’t completely self sufficient, but it will be by next year, Mathias hopes.

“We’ve roped in so many groups, so quickly for this effort,” he says. But he’s proudest of the fact that “this comes from us, it comes from the fishermen.”

They’ve already helped a couple of nearby fishing communities, including the aforementioned clam collectors, procure funding to start up their own plastic collection and recycling programs. Soon, he says, fishermen “through all of Kerala, all of India, and all of the world will join us.”

It’s a strong statement, but his confidence isn’t necessarily misplaced, says Sabine Pahl, a psychologist with the International Marine Litter Research Unit at the University of Plymouth in the U.K. Pahl, who researches how to convince people to take better care of the planet, says involving fishing communities in the fight against ocean pollution makes sense, and has worked in the past. Since 2009, the northern European environmental group KIMO has been recruiting fishermen in parts of the U.K., the Netherlands, Sweden, and the Faroe Islands for a similar program called Fishing for Litter.
Spreading the Word

The Indian program may have even wider potential, based on “the fact that it’s the fishermen taking the initiative,” Pahl says. In her research, she’s found that the most effective environmental initiatives are community-led, and “intrinsically motivated”—meaning motivated by altruism and a love for nature and wildlife.

“It’s truly powerful, because the fishermen are also in the best position to convince the rest of the community-—their families, their neighbors—of the dangers of plastic,” she says.

Sue H (7)
Thursday June 14, 2018, 10:35 am
Bright Blessings!

Leo C (315)
Thursday June 14, 2018, 11:17 am
Thank you for posting!

David C (129)
Thursday June 14, 2018, 1:55 pm
this is awesome, thanks, a great start to saving our oceans

TOM TREE (246)
Thursday June 14, 2018, 2:22 pm

Colleen L (3)
Thursday June 14, 2018, 5:45 pm
Outstanding news. Thanks Evelyn

Trish K (29)
Thursday June 14, 2018, 6:11 pm
Stella McCartney is turning this plastic trash into fashion and others are using it to drive on. Thinking out side of the box and making money can be an inspiration to this floating killer . Thank Evelyn

Sue L (60)
Thursday June 14, 2018, 6:29 pm
This is a great program! Kudos to the fishermen. Now we need to work to make sure less plastic is used and that it doesn't end up in the ocean to begin with.

Veronica B (32)
Thursday June 14, 2018, 11:22 pm
So Great!Thanks Evelyn

Angelflowers D (85)
Friday June 15, 2018, 4:31 am
Amazing and how inventive..

Evelyn B (62)
Friday June 15, 2018, 5:46 am
Sue - I totally agree!

This plastic problem needs to be attacked from both ends, I believe.
=> There's so much plastic, and systems that depend on plastic which will take time to change to bio-degradable &/or 100% recyclable, so projects like this which take plastics out of refuse (& hence environmental junk mass) are desperately needed.
=> alternatives to petrol-based non-bio-degradable packaging & goods must be developed.

Furthermore - I think that, during transition, pressure needs to be built up that forces industries to
a) label their plastic elements clearly for whether they are 'single use' (i.e. directly contributing to pollution), recyclable or bio-degradable ...
b) pay for sorting & channelling plastics out of the 'dump & pollute'
c) contribute to projects that address the mess that single-use plastics have & are causing ....

If the industries using plastics without consideration of their environmental impact are made to pay for their lack of responsibility, they'll inevitably start to be more responsible. Hurting their profits is a powerful weapon! And if they transfer all additional costs to consumers without ensuring better materials, their sales figures will drop ... I know I'm not alone in giving priority to goods in recyclable packaging !

Ben O (150)
Friday June 15, 2018, 9:24 am
Right on! -How to lead by example...

Danuta W (1250)
Friday June 15, 2018, 10:56 am

Judy C (97)
Friday June 15, 2018, 11:57 am
It's hard to imagine how disheartening it must be for the fishermen who are up close to this disastrous mess. The more recycling the better. Everyone needs to play a role and do whatever they can to reduce this problem. Thanks Evelyn.

Janet B (0)
Friday June 15, 2018, 7:10 pm

Anne K (139)
Saturday June 16, 2018, 5:20 pm
Thanks, Evelyn.

Margie FOURIE (148)
Saturday June 16, 2018, 11:39 pm
I am so pleased.

Margie FOURIE (148)
Tuesday June 19, 2018, 12:19 am
Thanks again
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