Banning plastic straws and plastic bags are justified to as part of a solution to plastic in the oceans and reduction of landfill. Even advocates admit that these regulations will not solve the ocean problem. Straw bans are intended as a gateway plastic to encourage the movement to biodegradable trash.
Many people with disabilities need straws to consume foods and beverages.
In 2015, researchers found the world has 275 million metric tons of plastic waste in one year and 4.8 million to 12.7 million metric tons get into the oceans.
People with neuromuscular disabilities and Down’s syndrome will be put at greater health risks by not having easy access to plastic straws.
Ocean Cleanup Technology can remove half the ocean plastic in 5 years
Cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch using conventional methods – vessels and nets – would take thousands of years and tens of billions of dollars to complete. Our passive systems are estimated to remove half the Great Pacific Garbage patch in just five years, and at a fraction of the cost.
Ocean cleanup technology creates an artificial coastline. The Ocean cleanup system consists of a 600-meter-long floater that sits at the surface of the water and a tapered 3-meter-deep skirt attached below. The floater provides buoyancy to the system and prevents plastic from flowing over it, while the skirt stops debris from escaping underneath.
Both the plastic and system are being carried by the current. However, wind and waves propel only the system, as the floater sits just above the water surface, while the plastic is primarily just beneath it. The system thus moves faster than the plastic, allowing the plastic to be captured.
Models show that a full-scale cleanup system roll-out (a fleet of approximately 60 systems) could clean 50% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in just five years.
After fleets of systems are deployed into every ocean gyre, combined with source reduction, The Ocean Cleanup projects to be able to remove 90% of ocean plastic by 2040.
Many other regulations that inconvenience people but do not solve problems
Plastic bag bans can increase the public health risk from bacteria in reusable bags. The bans do not solve the problem.
There are the kabuki airport security where people have to remove shoes and belts instead of having the equipment and procedures followed by the Israeli’s and others for actual safer travel.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.