A Simple System On The Line That Can Eliminate Plastic Pollution

Editorials News | Jun-17-2019

A Simple System On The Line That Can Eliminate Plastic Pollution

Once it was a coastline buried by enough trash to make it invisible, guaranteeing the unfortunate nickname toilet. Now, the beach of Manila Bay in the Philippines is unrecognizable clean compared to a few months ago, such a regretful and extreme response that brought the eyes of the residents.

The cleanup began on January 27, when 5,000 volunteers descended on Manila Bay to remove more than 45 tons of garbage, during an environmental rehabilitation campaign nationwide. But about two months before this massive movement began, a silent revolution was already underway.

During the first week of December 2018, Bounties Network, based in Brooklyn, collected three tons of garbage from Manila Bay for two days through a pilot project that paid a small network of people, mostly fishermen, for each garbage deposit with a digital currency based on the Ethereum system.

For the mostly Filipino fishermen who do not use the banks, this was the first experience with a cryptocurrency. It is one thing that could be decisive in allowing poor communities around the world to take up arms in the struggle against the waste of humanity, starting from the source of most of the world's pollution.

There are indications that this recycling industry for digital payments could be a point to take off. In early September 2018, Plastic Bank, a Vancouver-based blockchain company powered by IBM technology, also launched a similar inaugural project. Established a scheme in Naga, a city in southern Luzon, a larger island in the country, establishing a permanent collection point to allow people to exchange materials and recyclables for digital payments through a reward system. Shaun Frankson, co-founder of the Plastic Bank, said that three similar ones would open in Manila Bay during the next six months.

The fact that these two pioneers have been chosen as Filipinos. A study by the Wall Street Journal in 2015 revealed that the Philippines is the third largest emitter of chemicals in the global oceans, sending almost two million metric tons of waste per year. Only China and Indonesia produce more plastic waste.

IBM researchers have discovered that about 80% of the plastic in the countries in the development of high poverty areas. That perspective could now inspire a revolution in the recycling of chemical products for the empowerment of people in poverty in these regions. Other projects are already organized by Bounties Network in Thailand and Indonesia, Plastic Bank in Indonesia and Haiti, with global expansion plans for next year.

The Philippines, a country with a knack for adopting new technologies, offers the perfect backdrop to test the new recycling business model.

Rewards Network partnered with a local digital payments provider, Monedas.ph, so that people easily exchanged the Ethereum for a fiat [currency], says Simona Pop, co-founder of the Bounties Network.

Using digital payments to combat ocean pollution can be the result of how this new world can be harnessed in the best possible way. In the world's most disadvantaged communities, people are often charged with formal bank accounts, but they are often the source and victims of seemingly insurmountable plastics factors.

The fishermen who participate in the December cleaning of the reward networks collected a mountain of unholy debris, ranging from plastics, soaked mattresses, diapers, school supplies, shoes, dolls and children's shoes. The waste has become the bay's water into the toxic, and the fact of being a great challenge to the government's rehabilitation program.

By: Preeti Narula