Let’s Talk About Plastic Pollution: An International Panel Discussion

Plastic Pollution Coalition and Natura will host a panel discussion on plastic pollution in coordination with the launch of Natura’s Plastic Kills campaign on Wednesday, Mar. 29 in Barcelona, Spain.

The event will feature short films on plastic pollution and a panel discussion on the critical need for solutions. Leading the discussion will be Dianna Cohen, an artist and co-founder/CEO of Plastic Pollution Coalition and Alvaro Arpa, an artist and PPC ambassador. Panelists include Jane Muncke, Managing Director and Chief Scientific Officer for Food Packaging Forum; Laia Romero, oceanographer and Director of Operations of isardSAT; Gemma Ponsa Salvador, an entrepreneur and founder of Mother Organic Cold Pressed Juices; Anna Sánchez, a marine geoscientist; and François Van Den Abeele, CEO of Sea2See eyewear.

The time is now to talk about plastic pollution says Arpa. “There’s great need for awareness about plastic pollution, part of the apocalyptical mess that is taking place on the planet. It’s David against 5,000 Goliaths.” 

Plastic pollution has increased in recent years, says Romero, who works on satellite missions that observe the earth from space. “Plastic is found everywhere in the marine ecosystem, and its presence has significantly increased over the last decades,” she explains. “Anthropogenic litter can represent up to 95 percent of the waste accumulated at sea… To tackle this issue, transborder and interdisciplinary scientific collaboration is key.”

It is our responsibility to identify what is bad for us, such is the enormous use of plastic in our daily lives. It is also our duty to leave this world better than we found it.

Luz Casal, Musician & PPC Ambassador

Munke, who holds a doctorate degree in environmental toxicology, reflects on the common misconceptions about plastic pollution, the first being that bioplastics will solve the problem. “Bioplastics are sometimes biodegradable (but not all of them are), however most bioplastics will not degrade in the marine environment—they only break down in industrial composting facilities,” she says. 

Plastic pollution a global problem, explains Munke. “Even the most remote parts of the world are affected by plastics pollution—and when we eat fish and seafood, so are humans.”

Both Romero and Munke point to the critical need for more scientific research on plastic pollution. “While research on marine litter is growing, it is widely accepted that there are relevant knowledge gaps regarding the fate of plastic in our oceans,” says Romero. “Therefore, its detrimental impact on the environment and human life are still not fully known.”

What can readers do about plastic pollution? Munke says the first step is to educate oneself about the issue and then work together toward solutions. Gemma Ponsa Salvador, who packages her juices in glass bottles, recommends choosing sustainable food packaging whenever possible. Dianna Cohen calls for changes on multiple levels, from individual consumers to communities to businesses and government policy. 

We all must refuse single-use plastic, says Cohen: “Debemos rechazar el plástico desechable cada dia.” 

Take the Pledge to Refuse Single-Use Plastic

International Plastic Kills Campaign Launches in Spain

Clothing designer Natura launched Plastic Kills in collaboration with Plastic Pollution Coalition in Barcelona, Spain, last week. The campaign raises awareness about the harmful consumption of single-use plastic and educates consumers about reusable alternatives.

As part of the campaign, Natura will feature the Plastic Kills message on their paper bags at point of sale to customers. Plastic Kills is the newest visual paper bag campaign and joins a long tradition of campaigns created by Natura over the last 20 years. Natura has also made available reusable cotton bags, stainless steel bottles, and T-shirts in stores along with signage and pamphlets that explain the facts about plastic pollution and suggest alternatives. For example, “over 100,000 marine mammals and 1 million seabirds die from plastic pollution every year.” And “more than 260,000 tons of microplastics are already in our oceans, poisoning our food chain.” The Plastic Kills website highlights the problem and presents solutions.

“A few months ago, Dianna Cohen, co-founder and CEO of Plastic Pollution Coalition came to Natura’s offices and gave us a wonderful lesson on the importance of reducing plastic consumption,” writes company representatives. “Since then, at Natura we have set to work to fulfill the commitment to stop using single-use plastic.”

“We know it will be a long and expensive process, but little by little, and with the help of PPC, we will achieve it. As a first step, we have created Plastic Kills… With it we want you to become aware, to understand the real problem of plastic pollution, and to have solutions to stop using it in your own life. “

Alvaro Arpa, an artist and PPC ambassador, commends the campaign. “The Plastic Kills campaign is one action against plastic pollution and the humungous apocalyptical mess that is taking place on the planet. It’s David against 5,000 Goliaths… There’s great need for awareness.” 

Check out the interactive Plastic Kills website.

Take the Pledge to Refuse Single-Use Plastic.

Join our global Coalition.