around the world with guests and crew there is an estimate of an equivalent of 40 million litres of plastic bottled water per year being consumed.
REDUCE! REDUCE! REDUCE! IT REALLY IS TIME TO TURN THE TIDE ON PLASTIC! By Victoria Pearce During the Palma Superyacht Show 2018 I had the pleasure of being invited to the ACREW seminar titled ‘How turning the tide on plastic in superyachting’ which was hosted by Dutch captain Marja Kok who initiated the movement Water Without Waste, featuring Alice Mason from Asociación Ondine, Philipp Bayer from Cleanwave and Hannah Russel from Viveco. It was truly heartening to see that the seminar was full to bursting with captains and their crew. From the comments I heard people were not only there as representatives of the superyacht industry but also from their own personal perspectives. As residents and visitors to this wonderful island we see the effect of plastic on
the environment on a daily basis and I think people now realise that change begins with them. The idea that one person cannot make a difference is out dated and outmoded. It may sound naïve to some but if each and every one of us started with ourselves then the collective difference we would make would be vast. In the Balearics alone, each person creates on average 600 kilos of waste per year, 70% of which is plastic. We get through a whopping 1.5 million plastic bottles a day. And if we go more micro and use the superyacht charter industry as an example, a boat with 3 guests use 1,600 bottles over the three month summer season. With approximately 9,000 superyachts (over 24 meters in length) active
There is a misnomer that what we need to do is recycle, and whilst we should without a doubt continue to do so, what we really need to do is to start to REDUCE. You see recycling was brought about approximately 40 years ago due to the paper shortage in Japan and plastics have been around for 50 years, so the difference that recycling has made has been minimal if we look at the 80 million tonnes that are currently floating around our oceans being ingested by birds, fish and mammals and …. wait for it…. yes, US. Microplastics enter the food chain at sea level and who is at the top of the food chain? It stands to reason that we are ingesting the very plastics we are talking about in our fish and seafood. Asociación Ondine’s Alice put some facts and figures out there to us about our very own island. Solid research is how we can find out where the pollution is coming from, what forms it takes and the solution to how to stop it, in order to preserve a healthy and clean sea for future generations. On just one beach clean, within a 50m test zone, over 4,000 items of single use plastic were found! Of the 4,000 items 575 were cigarette butts and 271 were cotton wool buds or Q-tips. On another beach clean in Santa Ponsa 67kgs were collected in only 90 minutes by a group of some of the 180 strong volunteers. One of the problems that Palma faces is that we have a defective filtration system and when the Palma rains come the flood gates are quite literally opened. This
sends the waste directly into our beautiful waters. There is also some confusion surrounding bio-plastics made from recycled materials. It is often thought that these can just be left and they will degrade over time, but this is simply not the case. In order to destroy these bio-plastics exact conditions are needed including specific heat temperatures, water and chemicals. In the Balearics bioplastics are incinerated as we don’t have a specific composting facility. And if we don’t have one it’s highly unlikely that the beautiful Caribbean islands we are visiting will. People need to be aware that you can’t just throw these things in the sea and expect them to disappear. We were then shown an utterly heart-breaking trailer of the highly recommendable film ‘A plastic ocean’ (available on Netflix) in which was shown the research of Dr. Jennifer Lavers on Lord House Island near Australia. In it she takes us on a journey around the island gathering up the dead bodies of migrating seabirds and taking them back to her laboratory. From the particular bird she was dissecting she collected 234 separate pieces of plastic, of all shapes, sizes and colour and sadly that wasn’t the record. She once gathered 276 pieces from one 90-day old chick. 15% of its body mass was made up of plastic. That’s the equivalent of 12 pizzas or 6-8 kilos in an average human being. Horrifyingly a staggering 90% of sea-birds have swallowed plastic and in 2050 there will be as much plastic in weight as fish in the ocean! So what do we do? Since Autumn last year Marja has put her nautical career on hold to put her energy into getting information