When Foucault creates the concept of a panoptic for the criminal system he didn’t realized its real potential and that it could be applied for other areas in which there is danger for our societies, in this case for our oceans.
If there were a constant surveillance and a rational and responsible consumption maybe plastics would not represent a threat, however under current circumstances without a proper waste management and recycling process it becomes a real challenge.
Millions of plastic bottles finish in the ocean, which means that there is a terrible lack of awareness from individuals that goes beyond the own negative impact in the environment. Is an endemic problem that starts with indifference and misbehaving and end on lack of Education. Indeed, about 8m tones of plastic waste end up in the oceans every year, more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic float in the world’s oceans, breaking into smaller pieces*.
U.N. goals 12+14 may be the clue for addressing this relentless path towards ocean contamination and plastic waste; Responsible Consumption and Production and Life below water are the two main goals to search for resilience in terms of plastic waste management and preservation of oceans. But how could we plan our response effectively?
Is estimated that by 2050 it will be more plastic than fish in the oceans, coincidentally by the same year, there is another forecast establishing that the entire SDG´s will not be achieved. Which is the real burden? Lack of information seems to be the answer, at least right now. Sadly instead of being focused on strategic planning we are still delivering basic info.
But let´s be positive and focusing in those actions that are succeeding and delivering solutions in the short-term: Projects Faro 360 in Kaolack, Senegal a “waste tolerance” city exposure the fact that individual action + innovation makes possible a recycling process of plastics and minds.
Commitment from corporations: the road ahead. Changing cultural business codes is the clue and could only be achieved working on the following roads:
1) Cleaning –literally- oceans from plastic waste
2) Innovative forms of packaging
3) Education process at all levels to get commitment from the people: responsible consumption and waste management.
In the end Education becomes another key element and a sort kind of “panoptic” from which we could control corporation’s work, public policies and individual action.
Control, supervision, regulation, etc., a close look to SDG´s and their ambitious targets make us conclude that without pressure there is no results. We need to build new innovative structures through raise awareness and strong legislation based on creativity and capacity to influence people effectively. It is proven that information is currently the main challenge, a fact that transforms any effort for success useful if there is not a solid political will to address it.
Financial aspects seems to be a controversial point; SDG´s supposes an investment of 5 to 7 trillions and even if the world has never been wealthier as now is it also true that there are big troubles in terms of distribution. It´s important to highlight that this is not an ideological matter, the equal distribution is much more than a political position but a reality that is driven the world into stagnation. If there are still countries submitted into poverty means the total failure of a goal on sustainability There is not a possibility to get to successful goals if parts of the planet are still under basic standards for accessing to clean water or safe environments, that is so that the “plastic issue” become and universal issue and also an universal responsibility.
Tolerance 0 to plastic waste! 12 + 14= sustainable oceans.
*Sculpture: Whirlwind of Garbage by Wang Zhiyuan
*Plastic pollution solutions still just a drop in the ocean.
*Turning plastic waste into school supplies in Senegal. Faro360