IFAT 2018: reducing plastic in our oceans

Reducing plastic pollution in the world’s oceans was the debate that opened the 2018 IFAT trade fair in Munich.

The European trade fair discusses water, sewage, waste and raw materials management, and aims to find solutions to use intelligent cycles for long-term environmental action.

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The opening debate at the trade fair looked at ways to reduce pollution to protect rivers and oceans.

Messe München Managing Director Stefan Rummel opened the event and said that the innovative recycling technologies, as presented at IFAT, cannot be the one and only solution to handle the 8.3 billion tonnes of plastics that have been produces since 1950.

British environmental activist Emily Penn said at the debate that she had a wake-up experience on a boat from England to Australia.

“Our boat crashed into a pile of plastic waste amid the ocean, far away from civilisation. We all woke up from the loud noise,” she said.

“We must avoid plastic waste to a large extent. Whatever lies in the ocean, it is hard to fish out again. The lion’s share sinks into the deep and breaks up into micro-parts. Only a small amount of plastic waste can be seen at the sea surface.”

Environmentalist Kim Cornelius Detloff said the making of plastics is the very opposite of sustainability.

“We need to fetch from the oceans as much as we can – and recycle it. And we need laws. Even in a developing country like Ruanda plastic bags have been banned,” he said.

Adidas Brand Strategist James Carnes said he is concerned about potential loss in the future.

“We have now produced a million shoes of the Adidas Parley series. They have been recycled from plastic waste from the oceans. In future, it will be normal to buy products from similar recycled materials,” he said.

“For decades, we have been talking about how to leave a better world for future generations. It is as essential to invest into education and, hence, to leave the world better people.”