Greenpeace: Bioplastics not the answer to ocean waste problem

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In the Netherlands, Greenpeace is concerned that bioplastics will contribute to the problem of marine waste and insists that the only solution is to reduce the use of plastics altogether.

“Over periods of days, weeks or even months, a bioplastic item could present just as much threat to marine life as a conventional plastic item,” Fiona Nicholls of Greenpeace tells The Hindu. Reducing the use of plastics is the only real solution, she adds.

Marine litter is rapidly gaining public attention. Science estimates that 8 million metric tons end up in the ocean annually. A number of initiatives—ranging from government bans on straws and plastic bags to fast food packaging swaps based on bioplastics—have been introduced to address the issue.

Experts, however, insists consumer behavior changes and not bioplastics are the solution. “People think that biodegradable means nothing is dumped in nature. But that’s not the case at all,” engineer Virginie Le Ravalec of the French Environment and Energy Management Agency says. Separate collection systems for bioplastics would be required.