Health and climate, but the P-word is still taboo
Health care is facing the effects of climate change while being one of the polluters contributing to it. Plastic Health Summit 2021 breaks taboo around plastic.
July 8, 2020
Over 100 tons of ghost nets: that’s the catch of the Ocean Voyage Institute‘s sailing freighter KWAI. The ship spent 48 days looking for abandoned fishing nets in the Pacific Ocean. The cleanup mission was successful, and the non-profit organization now sets a record: the largest cleanup operation ever carried out on the open sea. The institute on Hawaii developed a simple method to detect ghost nets and remove them from the water. It is awe-inspiring how a small organization worked so effectively with few resources.
Abandoned fishing nets cause a lot of damage. Fishing nets made of plastic, such as nylon, are used all over the world and are much more durable than traditional rope nets. They are also cheaper and last much longer. The latter is a significant problem because if they are left at sea, they continue doing what they were made to do: catch and kill fish. Moreover, the nets pose a danger to other animals such as seals and turtles. The Ocean CleanUp calculated in 2018 that more than 46% of the weight of plastic in the ocean is accounted for by ghost nets.
How do you find ghost nets in the ocean? Unfinished work, you’d think. But Ocean Voyage Institute came up with a clever method. They asked ship crews to install a GPS tracker when they encountered a ghost net at sea. That tracker makes it easy to track a net. Because of the sea currents, nets are often found near each other, and so one marked net leads to the other.
Photo: Ocean Voyage Institute
Research has shown that plastic affects our fertility and that of our children. Learn more about this at the Plastic Health Summit.
The European PEF method of labelling textile does not sufficiently take the environmental effects of synthetic clothing into account
Are we breathing in microplastics? What’s in the dust outside and in our houses? Find out at the Plastic Health Summit 2021!