Boomi's Initiative Tracker
A Running List of Our Fight Against Plastic Pollution
We have a plastic pollution problem. By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans. However, public awareness and action are also increasing.
Every year, nearly 18 billion pounds of plastic waste enters our ocean. All of these bags are suffocating living creatures in our ocean, from coral reefs covered with bags to turtles squeezed by plastic can holders, to whales and birds starving to death because their stomachs are compact with plastic debris. Around 40% of all plastic product is for packaging, many of which are only used once and then discarded to sit in a landfill for generations. According to statistics, less than 20% of all plastic is actually recycled.
Despite all the horrors of plastic pollution, people are doing something about it. To acknowledge all the hard work and dedication humans are making around the world, we will start tracking those initiatives here.
July 26, 2019
INDIA’S FIRST ‘GARBAGE CAFE’ OFFERS MEALS FOR PLASTIC
This August, a small cafe in the eastern city of Ambikapur (India) will provide a curry with rice, lentils and papadams in exchange for one kilogram of plastic. This is to help provide food to the homeless and poor, whilst encouraging citizens to clean the city streets clean.
In India, people generate 26,000 tonnes of plastic waste every day even though single-use plastics are banned in many states already. This initiative contributes to Ambikapur’s many efforts to be one of India’s cleanest cities: for instance in 2015, the mayor put in place a door-to-door plastic waste collection system run by women for recycling, and built India’s first road entirely made of plastic.
July 20, 2019
INDONESIA TRANSITIONS AWAY FROM COAL POWER
Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo reportedly announced he wants to « start reducing the use of coal ». This signal runs counter to the current administration’s 39 coal-fired plant under construction and its 68 more to come.
President Widodo emphasized the need to develop the energy sector with a focus on renewable energy. This announcement seems to be a direct response to a citizen lawsuit filed July 4th which held top officials, including the President, liable for air pollution especially in Jakarta.
This is a first step forward for Indonesia in favor of clean energy, as the country is currently one the biggest world CO2 emitters. However, this will have to follow suit with a comprehensive coal phase-out plan that ensures a just transition towards more renewables.
July 12, 2019
INDIA’S UNIQUE ‘CAP AND TRADE’ PROGRAMME TACKLES AIR POLLUTION
A unique pilot scheme to combat air pollution was implemented In the western state of Gujarat, India. Known as ‘cap and trade ‘, the scheme put in place by government simply aims to set a cap on emissions and allow factories to buy and sell permits to stay below that cap, so that air pollution standards are met.
Air pollution in India is catastrophic, contributing to the deaths of at least 1.2 million Indians in 2017. This is due to a concentration of tiny particulate matter (PM2.5) eight times above that of the World Health Organization standards.
Starting in the industrial city of Surat, where textile and dye factories are a major source of pollution, the programme is a strong case for expanding this regulatory approach nationwide.
July 5, 2019
CHINA STEPS UP ITS WAR ON WASTE, STARTING WITH SHANGHAI
After cutting imports of foreign waste, China urgently continues to deal with its waste crisis, starting with the city of Shanghai as an example of domestic waste management.
Since Monday 1rst of July, Shanghai has become the first Chinese city to impose compulsory household garbage sorting. Fines of up to 200 RMB on householders who fail to separate their rubbish and recycling have been put in place. Companies and organisations could be fined up to 50,000-500,000 RMB.
Shanghai is the world’s second-largest waste producer with its new municipal solid waste regime (MSW), leading the example for the rest of the country and for other megacities. This is in line in with the central government plans for a standardized system and regulations for rubbish sorting by 2020, with a target for 46 major cities to recycle 35% of the waste by then.
June 26, 2019
G20 AGREE TO REDUCE MARINE POLLUTION
In anticipation of the 2019 G20 summit in Japan, the G20 agreed on a framework aimed at supporting members in reducing marine plastic pollution.
The meeting held in Karuizawa comprised 19 EU countries, representing 85% of global GDP. The Group agreed on a new voluntary framework which would allow supporting nations to share knowledge on policies, plans and practices to prevent and reduce ocean plastic pollution. Hence, nations promised to “promote a comprehensive life-cycle approach to urgently and effectively prevent and reduce plastic litter discharge to the oceans”. This will enable to promote sustainable consumption and production “including but not limited to promoting resource efficiency, circular economy, sustainable materials management, waste to value approach, and measures to address sea-based sources”.
Knowing that the United nations declared 8 million tons of plastic waste end up in our oceans each year, negatively impacting on marine life, the Japanese Environment Minister, Yoshiaki Harada, describes this decision as a “major achievement” and a stepping stone towards seeking more vigorous solutions to such global issues.
Although not legally binding, the framework will act as foundation for further international climate action.
May 15, 2019
NEW ZEALAND TO INVEST 11.6 MILLION NZD TO LOW EMISSION TRANSPORT PROJECTS
New Zealand's government and private sector announced that it would contribute a combined 11.6 million NZD to low emission transport projects to help enhance low emission transport technologies in the country. The government will fund a total of 4.3 million NZD, while the remainder will be funded by business such as Foodstuffs, Meridian, and Ports of Auckland. 31 projects are reportedly being funded.
Woods said today the combination of public and private investment in the fund would bring the maximum benefit for the taxpayers spend. "This round of funding focuses on innovative projects that expand the use and possibilities of electric vehicles and other low emissions technology in the transport space."
In September 2018, the number of electric vehicles (EVs) in New Zeland surpassed 10,000 - up from only 210 units in 2013. However, EVs only account for 0.25% of total vehicles in the nation.
April 4, 2019
INDONESIA'S MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT AND FORESTRY ANNOUNCED PLANS TO DEVELOP ECO-FRIENDLY CITIES ACROSS THE NATION
Indonesia's Ministry of Environment and Forestry is planning to create eco-friendly cities across the nation by improving its waste management practices. The plan and idea behind the eco-friendly cities were announced during the 10th High-Level Seminar on Sustainable Cities in Nusa Dua, Bali, on January 21.
The Director-General of Waste and Toxic Hazardous Material Management of the environment and Forestry Ministry Rosa Vivien Ratnawati stated "The high-level seminar, held since 2017, has expanded its focus to a multidimensional nature of urban development, especially environmental issues. Hence, Indonesia strives to focus on waste management in urban areas to create eco-friendly cities."
According to statistics, since 2015, 59.35% of Indonesia's population live in urban areas. This number is expected to increase to 82.37% by the end of 2045. This will have a significant impact on Indonesia's landfill and waste management. Therefore, it is crucial for the country to manage waste properly.
The new regulation mandates the government to reduce waste by 30% and increase waste recycling by 70% by 2025. The Marine Waste Management also aims to cut 70% of Indonesia's waste from leaking into their oceans by 2025.
March 20, 2019
SAN DIEGO BANS USE OF STYROFOAM ACROSS CITY
The San Diego City Council recently voted to ban the use of styrofoam across the city. The ban includes polystyrene products such as food service ware, food trays, egg cartons, and coolers in San Diego. Take-outs must not be served or sold in styrofoam boxes and single-use plastics, such as straws and utensils will only be available in restaurants if requested.
“By passing this measure, the Council supermajority has assured San Diego’s role as a national leader in pursuit of a safe, sustainable future and has made San Diego the largest city in California to ban Styrofoam,” Ward, a Council member, said via a statement. “The negative impacts of styrofoam are permanent and threaten the health of San Diegans, wildlife and industries critical to our region. The time has come for us to listen to community groups, non-profits, and businesses that have been advocating for this change for years and move away from Styrofoam and plastics in San Diego.”
January 2, 2019
DC BANS PLASTIC STRAWS, EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2019
DC has banned all plastic straws in restaurants and other businesses effective January 1, 2019. Seattle made the same change six months ago and now DC is the second major US city to follow. Businesses will have until July to completely transition from plastic to other alternatives, or else they will be fined.
“Many have started using hay straws, which are popular — they hold up well in drinks,” says Zachary Rybarczyk, part of the enforcement team with the District Department of Energy and Environment. “We’ve seen restaurants switch over to paper straws. And we’ve also seen restaurants using reusable straws — also popular in bars,” says Rybarczyk.
According to an Anti-straw activist, consumers in the US use up to 500 million straws a day. A recent volunteer group collected more than 4000 straws during a cleanup of the Anacostia River.
The Ban was actually passed in 2014 as part of the same legislation that banned styrofoam food containers. However, many businesses were unaware that the ban had been enacted because lawmakers did not really enforce the ban. However, now penalties will occur if businesses do not comply.
December 17, 2018
90.5% WINS INTERNATIONAL STATISTICS AWARD FOR 2018: THE PROPORTION OF PLASTIC WASTE NEVER RECYCLED.
Statslife.org.uk recently announced that the winner for the 2018 International Statistic is 90.5%: the proportion of plastic waste that has never been recycled! According to estimates, more than 6,300 million metric tons is sitting idly in landfills or in our natural environment.
‘It’s very concerning that such a large proportion of plastic waste has never been recycled’, says RSS President, Sir David Spiegelhalter, who chaired the Stats of the Year judging panel. ‘This statistic helps to show the scale of the challenge we all face. It has rightly been named the RSS’s ‘International Statistic of the Year’ for 2018.’