Reducing Global Plastic Use Is Key to Fight Ocean Pollution

plastic pollution in Haiti

Children play on the litter-strewn beach off Jacmel, Haiti. (© Robin Moore)

By now you’ve likely heard about the so-called “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” – a gyre that has brought together a concentration of plastic larger than the state of Texas.

This may conjure images of a thick layer of plastic bottles and bags floating on the ocean surface; in fact, much of the plastic in the ocean is made up of tiny pieces that, while they may get smaller, never disappear completely. Instead, they are eaten by birds and marine life, contaminating our food chain and threatening the overall health of our oceans.

Several years ago, Dianna Cohen, co-founder of the Plastic Pollution Coalition, wanted to travel to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and get to work cleaning it up. But as she explains in the TED Talk below, she soon realized that doing so would only make a tiny impact. A better goal would be to reduce global use of plastic to begin with.

Recently, the Plastic Pollution Coalition — of which CI is a member — held the “Think Beyond Plastic” conference and competition, which offered cash prizes to businesses with promising plastic-reduction solutions. Learn more in this article on the Ocean Health Index website.

Molly Bergen is the managing editor of Human Nature.


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  3. Orna says

    About ten years ago in Ireland, free plastic bags were banned from shops and supermarkets. Everyone brings recyclable bags when they go shopping – can be done worldwide

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  5. Eddy Jaury says

    Excellent post Molly.! last week we (Raja Ampat Solidarity) protes to our goverment to raise up the budget for ocean cleaning ,and we patroling all transportation boat in Raja Ampat to checking the garbages on the boat.

  6. Alcor controles says

    What a disaster! I recently read that there is even in the Pacific Ocean, a mass of plastic garbage and other waste, because of the junction of some current ocean! It’s a shame to get there.

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