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TTC Special. Caribbean Sea: Pollutant plastic in the area

TTC Special. Caribbean Sea: Pollutant plastic in the area

Photo: Foto: Auttapon Moonsawad/123rf

By Frank Martin

Plastic emerged in the United States in 1860, when a grand prize was offered to anyone who could replace ivory to make billiard balls.

Today that material formed by organic compounds, synthetic or semi-synthetic, is still present in a dangerous game; pollution.

It is a very bad news for tourism in the Caribbean region.

The tropical sea a paradise for travelers, are increasingly invaded by the waste of what has been a moldable product useful for various economic tasks.

Statistics from just three years ago indicated that these floating debris amounted to about 242 million metric tons in the world seas.

Of that figure 137 million tons (or more than 57%) originated in East Asia, the Pacific, Europe, Central Asia and North America.

In 2015 the Journal of Science confirmed with a survey that Asian nations, especially China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, contributed to marine plastic debris.

Plastic debris in the Caribbean

For the Caribbean islands the plastic waves are great bad news.

The island of Saint Lucia, for example, produces the sixth largest amount of plastic waste per capita in the Caribbean.

Only that small island that also lives from tourism generates more than four times the amount of plastic waste per person than China,

Among major global polluters worldwide ten are from the Caribbean region.

Are on the list Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Guyana, Barbados, Saint Lucia, Bahamas, Grenada, Anguilla and Aruba.

Plastic which is very useful in its “active life”, has nowhere to go when it is discarded and that’s why they throw it out of sight to the oceans.

Specialized studies blame the mismanagement of this waste of increased the sea pollution.

There are 322,745 tons of plastic that are not recycled in the Caribbean annually.

Fortunately, some islands are doing something.

14 Caribbean countries have begun to fight this threat by prohibiting the use of single-use plastic bags and / or polystyrene foam.

They have also launched public campaigns to explain what contaminant plastic can do.

Proven scientific studies indicate that plastic waste formed by chlorinated fragments can release harmful chemicals to the soil, which then seep into groundwater or other nearby water sources.

This can cause serious damage species that consume the water.