There is no doubt that marine plastic waste pollution is a major environmental problem, but now it seems that there may be at least a glimmer of hope when facing this problem According to a new study, in recent years, the amount of plastic waste on Australian beaches has actually decreased by nearly 1/3
It is reported that this research was conducted by a team of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) of Australia and led by Dr. Kathryn Willis. Based on 563 coastal inspections and interviews with waste managers in 32 cities, this study is a follow-up to similar studies conducted by CSIRO in 2013.
Overall, the study found that the amount of plastic waste found on Australian beaches has decreased by an average of 29% in the six years since the previous study was conducted. Scientists believe that the decrease is mainly caused by three factors:
First and foremost, it is believed that programmes that make waste reduction more economically viable play a major role. These plans may include picking up discarded plastic items at the roadside for recycling; Secondly, researchers believe that increasing vigilance against illegal disposal of garbage at sea - and imposing fines on those who commit such crimes - is a major factor; Finally, planned activities such as the voluntary clean-up initiative are said to have also played a significant role.
Interestingly, the survey found that the coastlines of cities that did not update their waste management strategies or those that cancelled their coastal waste management budgets were "dirtier" than those of other cities surveyed in the past six years.
"Although plastic pollution is still a global crisis and we still have a long way to go, this study shows that decisions made at the local management level are crucial to the success of reducing coastal plastic pollution," Willis said
This latest study is part of CSIRO's larger "ending plastic waste mission", which aims to reduce the amount of plastic waste entering the Australian environment by 80% by 2030.