NYT Reducing Plastic Pollution in Our Oceans Is Simpler Than You Think

May 25, 2023

Boyan Slat

Everything is for Sale: Even the Environmental Movement

Lisa Kaas Boyle, Environmental Attorney

The TV series Succession showcases in Shakespearian terms the darkest side of capitalism, the fact that everything is for sale, and there is no loyalty beyond the reach of the almighty dollar. This award winning show examines how greed destroys a family and how media corrupts our politics as it chases profit, endangering the future of humanity.

The Environment has been for sale since we started deforesting and drilling for fossil fuel, but the fever pitch at which the movement to protect our diminishing resources from destruction is being co-opted and corrupted by greed is a story as ugly as the family drama in Succession.

Who will speak for the trees, the air, the ocean? If you look at the climate summits and plastic pollution intervention, the megaphone belongs to fossil fuel industry and its offshoot, the plastic producers.

In January, the UAE confirmed that Sultan Al Jaber had been appointed as the president of COP28. Jaber is the CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), the biggest oil producer in the country and the 12th biggest in the world.

The UAE has appointed CEO of ADNOC Sultan Al Jaber as COp28 President.   –  Copyright  AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, File
By Rosie Frost

Last year,  Coca-Cola was a major sponsor of United Nations climate summit in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, although  a recent report that says the company’s production of plastics, a fossil fuel product that causes permanent damage to our planet at every phase of production and everlasting toxic waste, is increasing.

The beverages giant, which was named the world’s leading polluter of plasticsin 2021, has increased its use of new plastics since 2019 by 3 percent to 3.2 million tons, according to an annual report issued by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

The essay by Boyan Slat in the NYT on “reducing plastic pollution” ahead of this year’s UN summit to agree on international plastic pollution policy shows the duplicity that comes from selling the environmental movement to top polluters like Coca Cola.

Boyan Slats Ocean Cleanup Project is sponsored by Coca Cola and clearly serves the interests of this corporation as shown in this essay.

The Guardian reports that “Global plastic pollution could be slashed by 80% by 2040, according to a report from the UN Environment Programme (Unep). The changes needed are major, but are also practical and affordable, the agency said.

The first step is to eliminate unnecessary plastics, such as excessive packaging, the report said. Then next steps are to increase the reuse of plastics, such as refillable bottles, boosting recycling and replace plastics with greener alternatives.

Such a shift, driven by government policies and changes in the plastic industry, would mean plastic pollution would drop to about 40m tons in 2040, rather than 227m tons if no action is taken.”

But Boyan Slat, who speaks through the megaphone of Coca Cola money and a press that, for the most part, fails to challenge his bias, proposes that there is no way to turn off the tap of plastics, a product he praises, flowing into our environment and that upgrades to international waste treatment being too expensive, his project to capture plastic at the mouths of rivers is the way to go. Where this plastic will go is not mentioned, but he and Coke will both be profiting from the slight of hand that cleanup is possible but reduction is not.

If only the international summits and the press paid more attention to legitimate environmental scientists and and less attention to polluting industries and the voices they buy, we might have a chance at environmental policy that truly protects us.  Let’s hope that the voices that speak for the planet and our future on it, instead of the voice of greed, will prevail in setting environmental policy.

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Publicado en Artículos, Contaminación marina, Contaminación por plásticos.

Cuba, La Habana. Investigador Titular del Centro de Investigaciones Pesqueras, doctor en Ciencias en el Uso, Manejo y Preservación de los Recursos, y maestro en Ciencias del Agua.

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