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Kiwis are being asked to review and reduce their consumption of single use plastics this World Earth Day (April 22).
The theme of this Earth Day 2019 is the protection of animal species; many of which have been decimated by climate change, deforestation and pollution.
New Zealand spokesperson for SodaStream, Shannon Zaloum who recently visited one of the world’s most polluted marine environments in Roatan, Honduras as part of an international effort to clean up local beaches says plastic pollution is having a devastating impact on marine life in our oceans.
“With a floating rubbish patch stretching for several kilometers, the once idyllic waters around islands like Roatan have become the site of a devastating, man-made environmental disaster.
“More than eight million tons of plastic ends up in the ocean every year and this slowly breaks down into smaller particles which pollute our food chain and kill marine life.
“While efforts are underway to attempt to clean up some of the visible and accessible rubbish, more needs to be done to educate consumers to change their purchasing behaviour to avoid introducing plastic products into the environment,” she says.
Zaloum says SodaStream has spent millions of dollars campaigning against the use of single use plastics as well as investing in new technology to clean up some of the plastic pollution in marine ecosystems.
She says the company’s research here has found significant local support to reduce the use of plastic products.
“Our research has found around three quarters of New Zealanders believe there should be laws on single use plastic bottles to reduce plastic pollution and almost nine in ten 87% would be willing to give up buying plastic bottles altogether to protect the oceans and marine life.
“Even in more developed countries like New Zealand, we cannot have complete confidence that the plastic we put into our waste stream will be effectively retained in there; the most logical solution is therefore to reduce our consumption of these single use plastic products and make use of more sustainable alternatives,” she says.
Zaloum says many overseas markets have already moved to legislate against a range of single use plastics including disposable plates, cutlery, cotton buds, balloon sticks, food and beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene and all products made of oxo-degradable plastic.
“These are among the most common plastic products found on beaches - but at a local level we can take simple steps to review our own consumption of these products and seek out alternatives which help reduce the impact of this global threat to our environment,” she says.
Zaloum says the use of a reusable SodaStream bottle can save more than 2,000 single use plastic water bottles from entering the waste stream and contaminating the environment.