A monumental eco-challenge facing the planet is plastic marine debris. The modern economy has produced more than eight billion metric tons of newly manufactured plastic, but 75% of it becomes plastic waste. It is estimated that approximately five trillion pieces of plastic, or roughly 250,000 metric tons, have littered the waters.
So, what can be an effective measure to combat or eliminate plastics from ending up in coastlines, rivers, lakes, and oceans? It may be daring for most, but ocean privatization is the way to go.
Water capitalism implies that there would be private ownership of oceans, rivers, lakes, and aquifers.
When something is unowned, there is very little incentive to maintain, preserve, or defend it. On the other hand, when something is privately owned, we do our very best to maintain, preserve, or defend it. This is why private property is typically better than public housing, or why private transportation is generally more bearable than government transit.
Every year marine species, from lobsters and fish to sea lions and birds, become trapped or entangled in lost, abandoned or discarded fishing gear. This “derelict gear” continues to capture fish and wildlife while at sea, even if no fishermen retrieves the catch.
The Fishing for Energy partnership works to address this problem in two ways: by providing commercial fishermen with no-cost opportunities to dispose of derelict and retired fishing gear, and by offering grant support for direct removal and assessment efforts.
Through March 2016, the Fishing for Energy partnership has provided removal services at 48 ports in 10 states, collecting over 3 million pounds of fishing gear. Gear collected at the ports is first sorted at Schnitzer Steel Industries for metals recycling, and the remaining non-recyclable material is converted into energy at Covanta Energy locations.