Fiji Time: 4:43 PM on Tuesday 12 December

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Plastic waste

Hans Boernke,Savusavu
Tuesday, December 12, 2017

MARINE life is facing irreparable damage from millions of tonnes of plastic waste which ends up in the oceans each year. UN Ocean chief Lisa Svensson calls it "a planetary crisis".

For about 60-70 years now we live with plastic and it has its uses in clothing, cooking, catering, engineering, product design and retailing. Some of those items created are designed to last for very long time.

Almost all plastic ever created is still in existence, in one form or another.

Of the 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic ever created, 6.3 billion tonnes are now waste. 79 per cent of that ends up in landfills or the natural environment, i.e. the oceans.

Drinking bottles are today the most common plastic waste next to nappies and cutlery as single used items.

Plastic bottles and nappies take 450 years to biodegrade and fishing lines 600 years.

These are mind-boggling numbers and when those figures sink in, one can only hope we all do our utmost to reduce the use of single used plastic as much as we dare.

A lot of those items end up in the oceans around us, causing irreparable damage to our marine life and our household rubbish landfills are getting bigger and bigger and so is the rubbish piles along the streets.

At least on plastic bottles one can introduce a refund policy and other plastic rubbish should be collected separately. Then there is a chance to start a plastic recycling industry in Fiji.

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