Viewpoint – Ocean plastic pollution: A convenient but distracting truth?

Last modified: 
July 31, 2019 - 10:00am
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2019
Date published: 05/2019
Authors: Richard Stafford, Peter Jones
Journal title: Marine Policy
Volume: 103
Pages: 187 - 191
ISSN: 0308597X

Ocean plastic is a contemporary focal point of concern for the marine environment. However, we argue there are bigger issues to address, including climate change and overfishing. Plastic has become a focus in the media and public domains partly through the draw of simple lifestyle changes, such as reusable water bottles, and partly through the potential to provide ‘quick fix’ technological solutions to plastic pollution, such as large scale marine clean-up operations and new ‘biodegradable’ plastic substitutes. As such, ocean plastic can provide a convenient truth that distracts us from the need for more radical changes to our behavioural, political and economic systems, addressing which will help address larger marine environmental issues, as well as the cause of plastic pollution, i.e. over-consumption.

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