Concerns over increased environmental pollution have prompted a call from a Swedish environmental entrepreneur for a global crackdown on single-use plastic bottles.
“The world’s oceans have been used as a dumping ground for plastic waste for the past six decades,” said Bengt Rittri, the founder of Bluewater, a leading water purification firm with global headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden. “The result is that microplastics are now found in the water we drink the food we eat and the air we breathe, which imperils the health of the planet and humanity.”
Speaking at a gathering of water activists, decision-makers and business leaders in Stockholm for World Water Week on Monday, Aug. 26, Rittri said it’s time for a global ban on single-use plastic bottles, which are produced at a rate of over one million a minute, with over 70 percent ending up as trash in landfill and oceans.
According to a World Health Organization study released in mid-August microplastics have been found in almost every planetary source of water on Earth, from rivers and lakes, the ocean, wastewater and drinking water. The WHO also said more information was needed about the health impact of microplastics o the environment and human health.
Earlier this year Bluewater and Portugal’s Mirpuri Foundation issued a white paper entitled “The Global Plastic Calamity,” detailing the unmitigated pollution of oceans, land and air by throwaway plastic. The publication said there is substantial scientific evidence that so-called endocrine-disrupting chemicals, or EDCs, now commonplace in the natural environment as a result of plastic pollution, are blocking the natural function of hormones.
The unfettered use of plastics has put the planet on what the United Nations calls “the edge of calamity” with research indicating that plastic-related chemicals may be behind rising levels of abnormal development and illnesses over the past five decades, Rittri said.
“There are multiple alternatives available for consumers and businesses alike to avoid the need for single-use plastic bottles, he said. “For the sake of future generations, we urgently need to crack down on single-use plastics from packaging to bottles or face the worst of outcomes for future generations.”