Purge of the Plastic Pandemonium: Non-Governmental and Non-Profit Organisations


Article extracted from Asian Diver Issue 02/2020 (155)

A wide variety of organisations are working towards a healthy and sustainable, plastic-free environment. In this section, we recognise the efforts of selected non-governmental and non-profit groups that have performed major roles.


Greenpeace is a non-governmental environmental organisation with a presence in over 55 countries. Originating in the early 1970s from Vancouver, Canada, the international coordinating body of the organisation is now based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It was founded by Irving Stowe and Dorothy Stowe, Canadian and US expat environmental activists. For around 50 years now, Greenpeace has been sailing around the world to fight for environmental injustice. Their Greenpeace Fleet consists of the Arctic Sunrise, Esperanza and Rainbow Warrior. The group has worked towards preventing nuclear tests in the Pacific, recording the amount of plastics in the oceans, researching climate change in the Arctic, stopping illegal timber departing from the Amazon, bringing relief to communities impacted by extreme weather and collaborating with local authorities to arrest illegal fishing operations in areas of West Africa.


Founded by Bill Kardash, Ocean Conservancy works to protect the ocean from current global challenges. They aim to create science-based solutions for a clean ocean environment, as well as a clean habitat for wildlife and other communities that are dependent on it. They focus on unpacking threats in areas like the Arctic and Gulf of Mexico by bringing policies and science together to find innovative solutions for sustainable oceans. They have an extensive work profile, looking into Trash Free Seas to Smart Ocean Planning and Government Policies.


Founder Captain Paul Watson began Sea Shepherd with the mission to protect and conserve all marine life. Their work involves exposing, disrupting and stopping illegal operations that desecrate marine wildlife and habitats internationally. They have prevented poachers and habitat loss in areas like Benin, Ecuador, Gabon, Indonesia, Italy, Liberia, Mexico, Namibia and other locations. This includes expediting a number of arrests, the seizure of poaching vessels and taking away thousands of illegal nets. Sea Shepherd’s renowned work has also been awarded accolades like the Amazon Peace Prize from Ecuador and the Distinguished Service Medal from Liberia.


Oceana is the largest international advocacy organisation devoted to ocean conservation. Their global work aims toward strategic, and straight-forward campaigns that achieve realistic outcomes to help make our oceans more lively, rich and abundant. Their campaigns include Save the Oceans, Feed the World, Seafood Fraud, and Responsible Fishing.


The Ocean Foundation is the only community foundation for the ocean with the aim to strengthen, assist and promote organisations striving to change the destructive patterns of ocean environments around the world. They work with a several donors that care deeply about coasts and oceans. Their services include philanthropic advising, fiscal sponsorship, advised funds, grantmaking, capacity building and facilitation, and research and consulting. Two-thirds of The Ocean Foundation’s grants and supporting causes are located outside the United States. They have also hosted several projects worked closely on each continent on the global ocean as well as most of the seven seas.


The Ocean Preservation Society creates films in order to initiate awareness and action through visual displays and collaborate with partners to promote a sustainable future. They aim to give “voice to the voiceless” by documenting humanity’s impact on the environment and inspiring novel solutions through the visual medium. Their film works include The Cove, Racing Extinction and Projecting Change.


Co-founded by Lisa Kaas Boyle, Dianna Cohen, Julia Cohen, Manuel Maqueda, and Daniella Russo, Plastic Pollution Coalition is a body that looks at individuals, other organisations, business and policy makers working towards a plastic-free world. With projects like The Last Plastic Straw and Hannah4Change, they strive to advocate for change in the global atmosphere in regards to all forms of plastic pollution.


Members of Break Free From Plastic, 5 Gyres is an international movement that brings together different organisations to mitigate plastic pollution, all targeting the common themes of environmental protection and social justice. 5 Gyres also funds members of the Plastic Pollution Coalition, and isince 2017 they have had a special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.


AQUAPAK offers a solution to the ocean plastic pollution crisis. They have developed a polymer for the circular economy that has full functionality as a packaging solution that is recyclable and eco-friendly. The product, Hydropol, is non-toxic to the marine environment, as well as land. Hydropol can be found in a wide range of industries like fashion, hospitals, pet foods, hotels, hospitality and airlines in an assortment of applications such as laundry bags, garment bags, packaging, food waste collection bags, infection controlling bags and aprons, and pet food bags.


Based in South Eleuthera, the Bahamas Plastic Movement focuses on reducing plastic pollution within the region. Founder Kristal Ambrose drove the initiative to specialise in educating and engaging youths to end plastic pollution. Their activism goes through the steps of research, education, citizen science, and finally extending to policy change.


With an aim to eliminate plastic from our water bodies, The Plastic Soup Foundation attempts to expose the issue to the layman by displaying the link between plastics and humans. They have delved into many projects within the areas of health, microplastics, litter, and education.


Plastic Oceans has raised awareness globally by getting people to #RethinkPlastic and initiate changed behaviour to the plastic pollution problem. They have been responsible for distributing the award-winning film A Plastic Ocean and found their roots as a nonprofit in 2016. Their projects include film and digital content, educational programmes, refilling stations, and campaign like #SwimAgainstPlastic.


Their mission is to bring various communities together to reduce waste and clean our planet. They target their audiences by looking into action and awareness, education, sustainable projects and inspirational content. Initiatives include weekly cleanups, reusable bottles and bags, and community waste projects.


Plastic Smart Cities is a “knowledge-sharing platform on plastics”, where several stakeholders meet for a ‘Plastic Free Ocean’. It began as an initiative by WWF’s campaign “No Plastic in Nature” which tries to mitigate the systematic problem using a sustainable approach. By 2030, they want to mitigate all forms of plastic. Their initiatives are supported by the following: from Amsterdam, Euro cities; Amsterdam, Oslo, Nice and Izmir, South-east Asia; Patong (Thailand), Donsol (Philippines) and Phu Quoc (Vietnam), and the cities supporting the UN-Habitat.


Educating their audience on the ongoing plastic pandemic and its consequences

Located in Badung, Bali, this non-governmental organisation aims to mitigate the use of single-use plastic bags as well as educate the younger generations regarding the growing plastic pandemic. Through education campaigns and political meetings, they are trying to make a difference “one bag at a time”. They’ve explored various initiatives in projects like Mountain Mamas, One Island One Voice Sati Palau Satu Suara, Komitmen, River Booms, Pilot Village, and created education booklets for children in classrooms.


Located on Ara Dinawan Island in East Borneo, ADRECC focuses on caring for marine life and environmental conservation. Spearheaded by nature-loving scuba divers and environmental enthusiasts, they aim to protect and preserve the green environment for generations to come. Some of their work includes coral planting and nurseries, turtle hatching, sharks and rays, UW photography, reef checks and fruit farms.

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