Solutions to Plastic Pollution

World Environment Day 2023 is a reminder that people’s actions on plastic pollution matters. The steps governments and businesses are taking to tackle plastic pollution are the consequence of this action.

The Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Plus Program (PHAMA Plus) PHAMA Plus builds environmental sustainability and climate and disaster resilience in its program activities and interventions.  To do this, PHAMA Plus is guided by its Environment, Climate, and Resilience (ECR) Strategy which was recently launched on Thursday June 2, 2023.

These environmental safeguards and opportunities in the ECR strategy contribute to building a circular business model for horticulture and agriculture sector in the Pacific. PHAMA Plus works in these sectors across 10 Pacific Island Countries.

The most common pollutant generated in these sectors is plastic. 

The PHAMA Plus ECR strategy will ensure that intervention partners use biodegradable plastics or replace plastic with a sustainable alternative, such as plant-based polymers.

Single use plastics used in agriculture are an emerging threat to the environment. Some sources of agricultural plastics used in the Pacific region are through:

  • Mulch films to reduce weed growth.
  • Greenhouse films for protecting crops.
  • Irrigation tubes and driplines to optimize water use.
  • Bags and sacks for storage and transport of seeds, fertilizers, and grains.
  • Silage films for fermentation of biomass and storage.
  • Coatings on fertilizers, pesticides, and seeds.
  • Fruits and plant protectors

“There are many benefits of using these plastic products but the lifespan for most of these plastic products are short. When these plastics are discarded in a manner that it ends up in the environment, it causes damage to the ecosystems not only on land but also in marine environments,” PHAMA Plus Environment, Climate Resilience Manager Rupantri Raju said.

“Animals, such as turtles get entangled into nets or consume plastic and drown to death. Other types of plastics that are released into the environment through agriculture is microplastics. These are tiny particles of plastic that are smaller than 5 mm in size.”

Some alternatives to using plastic in agriculture would be to use glass or polycarbonate in greenhouses, use plant-based materials, such as coconut coir and cocoa peat for seedling pots. Another alternative is to use biodegradable plastics that are made of bio-based materials, such as starch. There are also fossil-based biodegradable plastics as well.

Together, let’s redesign systems to prevent plastic waste. Together, let’s push for a global agreement to #BeatPlasticPollution. Together, let’s innovate to reduce, reuse & recycle.

It is time to #BeatPlasticPollution.

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