The following articles are written by TKF Participants and/or about The Klosters Forum.
Synthetic polymers (plastics) account for up to 80% of all marine litter (Derraik 2002). Most
types of plastics do not biodegrade and therefore endure in the environment for decades,
even centuries (Hopewell et al. 2009). Plastic waste floats in the oceans, is carried by ocean
currents, accumulates in ocean gyres, sinks to the ocean floor and can be found on beaches
where it is washed up from the ocean or disposed of directly
Dr Farrelly, from the School of People, Environment and Planning, was invited to speak at the recent Klosters Forum (TKF) in Switzerland. During the forum, she was asked to join the UN taskforce to help formulate an international legally-binding treaty on marine plastic pollution – a role she is delighted to have been offered regarding an issue she is passionate about.
In July, I spent four days at The Klosters Forum, an intimate small-town setting in the Swiss Alps that fosters more innovative collaborations by bringing together disruptive and inspirational minds to tackle some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges…
Plastic pollution in waterways and coastlines is an overall system failure of how we design, use and dispose of materials. The myriad of lightweight, durable plastics makes it incredibly hard to recover and sort these resources into usable quantities of similar polymer types. This reduces its embedded value and incentive for collection.
Plastic production is expected to quadruple by 2050. Mark J. Spalding, president of The Ocean Foundation, explains how fully understanding the scope of the pollution problem convinced him that current efforts are not sufficient.
The challenge is undeniably enormous. Huge economic pressures continue the exponential growth curve of plastic production, with no solutions capable of dealing with the problem at scale.
SWISS: What is The Klosters Forum?
STEPHANIE VON MEISS: The Klosters Forum (TKF) is a young, international environmental forum. This summer’s forum will be held from 24 to 26 July in the Grisons Alps.