There have been many reduction efforts that have been undertaken by governments. For instance, Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced in 2019 that Canada will ban all single use by 2021. Though the pandemic of coronavirus has thrown a wrench in the works, as demand for items such as single use gloves and face masks has never been higher. Despite this, Trudeau's plan is a very big step in the right direction. Other countries have also taken steps away from plastic and plastic containers. Peru has banned single use plastics from being taken into protected areas, many areas of the US have begun phasing out plastic straws, the EU passed a ban on single use plastics, and Chile has banned the commercial use of bags by shops.

Despite these actions, research conducted by the website theoceancleanup.com have shown that the growth of pollution will outpace the efforts taken to slow it. Though more people nowadays are aware of the huge amounts of plastic in the ocean, the production of plastic has also never been higher. Clearly, we as a species have to work much, much harder to control our production of plastic. Outlined in theoceancleanup.com are the three main objectives we must work towards to make any significant difference in the amount of pollution: Reducing the use of plastic, improving the management of waste, and undertaking more cleanup efforts.

There have been many new innovations that may prove very instrumental in reducing the amount of plastic in the ocean. An excellent example of this would be a product made by Green Ocean Group. Their product would be packaging made up of water-soluble materials, akin to packing peanuts, which leave little to no residual micro debris. This product would be made up of polyvinyl alcohol, a non-toxic, colorless, odorless polymer that is often used in eye drops and contact lenses. This packaging would dissolve when put in hot water. Though, the ease at which this packaging dissolves could also be its downfall. Plastic is very resilient in the face of moisture, but something as simple as rain would ruin it. Furthermore, convincing consumers to make the switch would be difficult, as it is very doubtful that many consumers would take the time out of their days to properly dispose of the packaging instead of just tossing it with the rest of the garbage. Though, despite the challenges this product faces, products similar to this could very well be the key to a greener, cleaner future.

Jamal Jabaieh
Paragon Science Academy