Clogging our Nation’s Waterways & Green Spaces

We have a huge Environmental challenge that is not going away. Pull into any harbour or marina in the country and you will see the same thing; plastic bottles, lids, bags, wrappings and even cigarette butts. Sometimes one or two pieces floating in the water, other times it’s a collection of floating garbage. Take a stroll on a beach or a hiking trail and you will see it there too.

The wonder product of the 60’s – plastic; has contributed to so many marvellous & beneficial products that have improved our world and enhanced our lifestyle. Plastic however has a dark side. One of the greatest environmental problems the world faces is waste petrol-chemical products such as coffee cups and plastic; especially in our parks, hiking trails, creeks, rivers, lakes, and oceans. Things like the plastic garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean begin as a single piece of plastic going from the side of a trail into a creek whose waters ultimately flow into the oceans of the world

If you are like most people you see the garbage and curse the person who littered; you may even pick it up and dispose of it in a proper manner; but usually it becomes someone else’s problem.

This global problem is huge; on the great lakes it is estimated that 85% of all litter is plastic; on the Pacific Ocean the Great Pacific Garbage Patch contains enough plastic to cover continental Europe. Incredible!

The debris you can actually see is just the tip of the plastic iceberg. Most plastic floats below the surface and is smaller than a few millimeters, this wreaks havoc on the natural environment and because it doesn’t break down, fish and other animals mistake the plastic for food, fill up on plastic, and then starve to death. Prince Charles stated recently that plastic is now “on the menu” founded on the amount being ingested by all forms of fish.

And it does not stop there; other contributors to the problem is garbage that is blown off boats or washes in from the land. Clothes that have tiny strands of plastic that enters the water system when washed. Soaps and toothpastes contribute up to 300,000 microbeads per bar or tube; those microbeads that are supposed to make your skin and teeth glisten get washed down the drain. Based on the size of each microbead they are too small to be taken out of the water by sewage treatment stations then making their way into the fresh water supply.

A major culprit in this floating maze of plastic and litter are cigarette butts; When you flick your butt, it doesn’t disappear it joins millions of other pieces of waste, plastic, litter and hangs around for decades.

We think if we throw it away; it will go away! It astonishes me how many people view our green spaces, creeks, rivers, lakes and oceans as landfills or receptacles for our un-wanted plastic and other waste products, having no currency thus no value; which is validated by the plastic that is part of the recycling currency and that program prides itself on being 85% successful. My question is; where does the other 15% end-up. Here is a fact – all plastic can be recycled or gasified to produce heat for green houses.

It is time to widen our gaze and bring a sense of harmony back to nature. When we build something, we should have the technology to disassemble the product and re-use the materials. With countries like India facing a shortage of pellets for manufacturing new products; and a world that dumps 8,000,000 pounds of plastic into the water each year and an estimated 4 trillion tons of waste/under-utilized plastic; something is wrong with this picture.

With the advancements in technology over the last 10 years; we can now recycle waste plastic that has a mobius number. For soft plastic without the mobius ranking; it can be used in alternative fuels for producing electricity and heat.

There are some interesting uses for waste plastic. Waste Boards for example, is a company in the Netherlands that manufacture skateboards from plastic bottle caps gathered at festivals, carnivals and other events. Trash Art is another way of dealing with waste plastic that leaves a positive impact for years. I see turning waste plastic into an industry employing people of all ages and in doing something very rewarding.

At the heart of the GBC belief system is diversity and innovation. Our “Towards Harmony Imitative” is a desire to encourage ourselves and others to “Widen Their Gaze” and contemplate other ways to use our considerable imagination to transcend the problems that face us.

I will to step-up and start a movement to recycle waste plastic by using my reach with Green Business Canada coupled with my experience and management skills; I know I can make this a reality and set an example for others to follow; this why I am asking for your support on Kickstarter to get this happening and to help me put in place the tools to do the following:

  • Commission canoes to fish the waterways for plastic. I am going to call these canoes Mobius; a symbolic whale to hunt for plastic.
  • Employ people to patrol our trails, parks, and green spaces to collect waste plastic and other litter.
  • With Mobius our new mascot, I am going to incorporate my educational message to schools and create a presence on social media. As our mascot comes to life he will attending various public events and be available for photo opportunities.
  • I will establish on my website. a waste plastic hot-line and to use my website businessofgreen.ca; to keep you posted on our progress.
  • Initially our focus will be on Alberta and Vancouver Island and my vision is to expand this initiative across Canada.

We are going to take our message to the public with our series of Green Pop-up Street Fairs, our version of a low carbon foot print event that will educate and encourage people to get involved and support us.

Please email me at alan@marismedia.ca with any questions or expression of interest. Let us all leave a positive impact on our planet for the generations to come.

Please support us on Kickstarter.

Alan Howat