[Tara in Japan] Oceans: Tara proposes that Tokyo ban single-use plastic during the 2020 Olympic Games

© Tara Expeditions Foundation

AFP_Partenaires_18pix

[Dispatch – May 17]

The Tara Foundation, whose research schooner docked on Wednesday in Japan, is asking for a ban on single-use plastic during the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Tara’s appeal is urgent: “Let’s say no to plastic bags, cups and drinking straws that all too often end up polluting the Ocean”.

Since departing from the French port of Lorient on May 28, 2016, the schooner has been criss-crossing the Pacific Ocean to study coral reefs, while continuing to collect plastic fragments and particles for laboratory analysis.

In June, Tara will sail between Hawaii and California, traversing the so-called “continent” of plastic, On board will be an international team of 7 scientists whose research focuses on plastic pollution in the world’s oceans.

“This plastic comes from our campsites, houses and kitchens, from our agriculture and industry. It flows along streams and rivers, then arrives in the Ocean”, explained Romain Troublé, executive director of the Tara Foundation, at a press conference aboard the schooner in Tokyo Bay.

Post_Facebook JPN V2(1)  L’impact du microplastique : des fragments qui envahissent l’Océan et se dispersent sur toute la planète. © Agence Soixante Seize / Tara Expéditions Foundation

Some of these objects break up into tiny pieces to which micro-algae and other organisms attach themselves. Their smell attracts fish to ingest them, introducing plastic into the food chain.

“We shouldn’t believe we will clean up the sea. I don’t think it’s possible“, he told the AFP, considering it “dangerous“to claim we can, because this encourages negligence.

“We must consume much less plastic”, he insists. “The great paradox of Japan is that here everything is sorted. This is the country most ready for a circular economy, yet it has a packaging frenzy”,summarized Mr. Troublé.

Why not plan the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo without single-use plastic? Our proposal for Tokyo-2020 is to seize this opportunity to raise Japan’s awareness about disposable plastic, with media communication from the Olympics a year before and during the games”, he said, suggesting that biodegradable plastic and cardboard be used instead.

Romain Troublé (directeur général de la Fondation Tara Expeditions) lors de la conférence FACTO, Miami
Romain Troublé, Directeur général de la Fondation Tara Expéditions
© Maeva Bardy / Tara Expéditions Foundation

Tokyo-2020 is currently preparing a sustainability plan for the Olympics to be published soon, an AFP spokesman reported.

Selon les derniers chiffres de l’Institut de gestion des déchets plastiques du Japon, ce pays a consomme en 2015 9,64 millions de tonnes de plastique.

According to the latest figures from Japan’s Plastic Waste Management Institute, Japan consumed 9.64 million tonnes of plastic in 2015. Some 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic (not made by recycling) have been produced to date by humanity at an accelerating rate, according to a 2017 article in the scientific journal Science Advances (1).

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(1) Sources : Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made - Roland Geyer, Jenna R. Jambeck and Kara Lavender Law

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