Over 8 million tons of plastic waste are estimated to flow into the oceans every year and cause microplastics pollution. Photo: WIKIPEDIA

Japan proposes U.N. working group to tackle ocean microplastics pollution


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Reading this while eating matcha cookies that are individually wrapped in plastic. They came in a box of 6 and also sit atop a plastic base tray.

18 ( +18 / -0 )

Japan calls for a review of international efforts to deal with plastics waste and their effectiveness

I wonder if those who are proposing this to the UN have ever been to a beach in Japan. The beaches in Chiba and Ibaraki are constantly littered with plastics and cans. It's only the local volunteer groups that clean it all up a few times a year. They should be more concerned about cleaning up their own backyard than looking over the fence and telling their neighbors to clean up.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

I wrote this the other day on another new board, "Even if we stop wasting plastic products now, this stuff is in our rivers, oceans, how long will it take 1: to bio degrade? 2: to be totally out of the marine food chain? I was in my local supper market the other day and the lady in front emptied her trolly onto the conveyer belt and 99% of the products came in 1 a plastic tray, 2 the product was wrapped in clear plastic, 3; then all of her goods were taken a way in a plastic carry bag, 4 (probably) all of the plastic and waste was thrown away in a plastic bin liner, this madness has to stop now" we need to reeducate adults, children, and mainly large companies, we need to get the customers to say this is out of order, then the companies should get the message that consumers might shop else where if the products are covered in to much plastic, its just convenient and people are not aware of the environmental harm that were all doing. some one has to take the initiative to stop the halt of all this plastic waste.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Perhaps Japan may consider using its military personnel to help clean up the plastics . . . . and in the mean time, consider developing and using biodegradable plastic for future use.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

oh boy there's going to be meetings! lots and lot of meetings!

13 ( +13 / -0 )

California is at least taking action. All single-use plastic will be phased out by 2030 under proposed legislation. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/23/california-proposes-phaseout-of-single-use-plastics-by-2030.html

8 ( +8 / -0 )

@Brian Wheway - "Even if we stop wasting plastic products now, this stuff is in our rivers, oceans, how long will it take 1: to bio degrade? 

The answer is very simple. Never! Plastic does not break down in the environment. It breaks up! It just keeps breaking up into ever tinier pieces to micro plastics and beyond. Plastics in the environment will never go away. Just because they are too small to see does not mean they are gone. Even if plastic production was stopped today, the amount of plastic already in the environments are enough to poison future generations. People are very worried about CO2 because climate change directly effects their lifestyles. However, plastics in the environment are far worse and the repercussions have not effected people’s lifestyles directly, yet.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Wonder where that picture was taken. It's a disgraceful situation.

Its disconcerting when I see people buying scads of bottled water at supermarkets, carting it home and then throwing out (well, technically recycling) the bottles. Such a waste when most times the tap water is fine. If you don't like tap water, buy some kind of filter device.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Our one day a year to "clean up a bit", here in Lismore, but we tried biodegradable, and they fell apart, then we tried banning shopping bags, and they sold us more expensive ones, so yes we too face an insurmountable task, we can't burn it we can't reuse it, we can't send it to China anymore !

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I’m not sure how credible Japan and Norway can be given their withdrawal from the International Whaling Commission. But otherwise wake up Japan. I go to a convenience store and buy one item and have a spoon, a fork, a wrapped hand towel and a plastic bag to carry it thrown at me (I turn these down). Everyone I buy is far too individually wrapped, wrapper within a wrapper, within a wrapper, it isn’t clean or quaint it’s abusive of the environment.

Fix this first Japan before you take your tarnished record of global leadership on the road.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Is all just pretty talk for show. Nothing in the UN ever get accepted. Basically people propose stuff in the UN and then everyone start arguing and discussing it till the next proposal comes up. The UN only knows how to criticize. Is a joke there and just a organization with a bottomless hole to throw money at. Truth is, you will always have plastic problem in the world as long there is profits to be made. The only thing you can do is to make sure you do your parts and clean up whenever you see trash litter around in your own surroundings.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Plus that Canada proposal back then was nonsense. It basically wanted to even ban plastic straws and would heavily fine anyone using it to drink stuff. You might as well cripple the industry then with this proposal and they actually criticize Japan why they refuse to sign the agreement.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

the irony of this, coming from a country that consumes enormous amounts of plastic and doesn't recycle a lot of it.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Regarding the photo above, I have been to lots of beaches in my life, and I've never seen one that is even close to being as polluted as that one.

Seriously, folks. Does anyone really think that any beach is really as polluted as this one? Don't believe what you read, or what you see in a photo on the Internet, just because it happens to serve your agenda. Be skeptical.

If any beach really is as polluted with plastic as this one, then that is the fault of the local government, as well as the fault of the people who made such a colossal mess.

It's not the fault of the plastic. It's not plastic's fault when people trash a beach with it as much as in the photo. It's not plastic's fault when people throw it on a beach instead of into a recycling bin.

Speaking of which, if recycling really worked as well as it's supposed to, there should be no need to ban plastic.

I use plastic goods and hope to use them often in the future. Does this make me an evil person who cares not for the environment? Not at all, because I don't throw my plastics on the beach or anywhere else on the ground outside. I put them in the recycling bin.

That photo above, in my hunch at least, is simply not genuine. And even if it is, that beach should have been cleaned up by the local authorities long before it ever got that bad.

Either way, using it to push a radical environmental agenda is intellectually deceptive.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

Scientific evidence points to pollution from plastic as being a threat to the biosphere. Of course it is a good thing that the nations of the world become concerned.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Not that I am pointing any fingers but last time I went to Ishigaki Island, the beach was riddled with plastic waste with mostly Chinese and/or Korean printed on it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The world and or UN can't afford to have a long procedure, year long meetings for everything in regard to urgently required steps to stop pollution of Rivers, Land, Ground water, seas, mountains, air, space, sky, poles etc as already the universal pollution by each and every country of globe has started affecting seriously the water and food requirements of globe. It is surprising how the UN, superpowers, G7, G20, etc etc don't realize the urgency of strong steps to limit and reduce as well as to stop the pollution and also reduce our contribution to climate change. It is amazing these rich Countries are embroiled in bureaucratic talks and procedures despite the fact that Climate Change, pollution has started affecting these Countries very adversely. How foolish can we be not to understand.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I have been to lots of beaches in my life, and I've never seen one that is even close to being as polluted as that one.

Never been to Japan, huh?

Seriously go to any stretch of coastline near an urban area or any river near an urban area in this country and that is the amount of plastic trash you will see. It is everywhere.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

**@JenniSchiebel "**I've never seen one that is even close to being as polluted as that one."

So your anecdotal witness statement trumps the experience of everyone else and international research?

I guess in your parallel delusion universe this photo was created with the explicit purpose of deception. Easier just to post a false comment on a news story like this, isn't it?

Yes, we should be skeptical, of commentators like you.

How is it a  "radical environmental agenda" to attempt to ensure the future environment is safe?

Look at your dumb arse argument. First you blame government (apparently for not recycling) and then you blame the concept of recycling itself! Which is it?

The plastic on that beach is obviously not left there by beach goers. This is the crap that washes down every drain and river in every concreted river in Japan, Korea China etc ... blows around in the ocean and gets deposited on the beach.

I too have been to a lot of beaches, and I've been to beaches that are about as pristine as you can get in the Southern Hemisphere, and there is plastic on the beaches even there. So no, this is not a doctored photo.



North and South.

7 ( +7 / -0 )


I have seen beaches much worse than that in SEA.

The worst one was in Phu Quoc in Vietnam.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The question is how do you stop 3rd world nations from dumping everything in rivers and oceans ?

BUT take my challenge :) can anyone show me accurate satellite photos of the Great Plastics Garbage Patch in Pacific ocean that is 3x larger than Texas ? Been asking for years now and none can :)

Some have shown the volcanic Pumice raft from Havre Seamount volcano but none floating Plastic patch .

-3 ( +0 / -3 )


There are no satellite images because they were done by aircraft:

The observation result report was publish in Nature and can be found here https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-22939-w



2 ( +2 / -0 )

As long as Japan doesn’t lead the U.N. discussions, I think this is a good thing.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Plus that Canada proposal back then was nonsense. It basically wanted to even ban plastic straws

 And they should be banned. Originally straws were paper, not plastic.

When did we come so babyish that we can't even have a drink without sucking it through a straw?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japanese government officials said then that proposed steps in the Canada-led charter could adversely affect Japan's plastics industry and consumers and that more time is needed for preparation.

This is similar to the trade pacts that Japan made with the EU and TPP, they can not implement the agreements for decades, with regards to sensitive products.

It's all politically motivated, the government does not want to piss off the manufactures or people who are lining the pockets of lawmakers. If international agreements were left up to Japan to decide or implement none would come to fruition, always stuck in a tooth-sucking meeting somewhere waiting for 100% consensus and if they can't get their way, they leave like a kid taking the toys with him from the sandbox.

Japan talks the talk, but it sure as hell stumbles along the walk!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Be skeptical.

Jenni, skeptical means to withhold judgement until you are able to ascertain the truth. It doesn't mean ignorantly hanging onto an opinion because it fits your own agenda (the fight against radical Marxist based environmentalism). Why listen to me? Because I agree that those radicals exist.

But the problems with plastic are documented and clear to everyone. You haven't been to many beaches if you haven't seen sites like this picture. However often it's cleaned up, one typhoon can wash this much garbage ashore from the sea. They degrade into microplastics and nanoplastics that we all ingest - and none of us know what effects they will have on out health.

There is no debate that this is a problem, not a future problem but a problem now. It's obvious. Moreover, unlike climate change, we can actually solve this problem.

By all means, be skeptical. But don't be intellectually lazy.

5 ( +5 / -0 )


It is an extreme image, but in a way not seeing the plastic is more extreme because it means it has broken up into such tiny bits fish could swallow it, so its surprising all that "scientific" study of Whales by Japan didn't mention it !

1 ( +2 / -1 )

A good start would be to first STOP DUMPING crap in the ocean, then come up with a plan/agreement to clean-up what is in there. There is no use cleaning at one end of the ocean and still dumping crap into the other end. The ocean as a garbage dump - bad.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan can also start by persuading Japanese supermarkets and companies to stop using so much plastic packaging. And start charging for plastic bags at all supermarkets. There are so many things that can be done, but Japan is doing sweet FA. Talking's great.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Wonder where that picture was taken.

"Plastic pollution in Ghana, 2018"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Another cheap or free way to get this crap of the beach is the courts that punish people for a small mistermena, like shop lifting, a scuffle between two people, drunken yobbish behaviour, is to make them undertake so many unpaid hours work, this could entail sweeping roads, collecting rubbish from a beech ( if its near by)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Either way, using it to push a radical environmental agenda is intellectually deceptive.

Wow. Just wow.

Trying to save the environment is now seen as deceptive and radical.

I weep for the future.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Does this mean, Whale & Dolphin meat could be totally polluted by micro-plastics and dangerous for Human Consumption ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Agree TH. Since when is wanting to clean up refuse and plastic a radical environmental agenda?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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