We know now that plastic is damaging our environment, our water, and our food, so how can capitalism stop this pollution?
Many are raising awareness to the amount of plastic floating around.
Environmental activists, non-profit organizations, and politicians are all raising awareness to the cause. We all have seen the images of fish swimming through plastic, huge islands floating around in the ocean made entirely of plastic, fish who are toxic because they have mistaken plastic for food. We even know now tiny pieces of plastic are making its way into our table salt.
Did you know that on average 75% of the eight billion metric tons of newly manufactured plastic becomes plastic waste? Did you also know that roughly 5 trillion pieces of plastic, about 250 metric tons currently litter our waters?
All of these issues originate when the public exploits and destroys un-owned natural goods. Consumers don’t realize or completely understand the severity of carelessly disposed of plastic, and how it is damaging our oceans.
People are hearing the importance of fixing this and the government realizes they also have to help.
Around the world, things are changing…slowly
In California, a $1,000 fine is being considered for waiters who offer their patrons unsolicited straws. European Union is proposing to subsidize plastic recycling factories. The United Kingdom wants to ban plastic straws. Indonesia is looking at spending $1 billion in slashing marine litter. Many others are looking at outlawing or taxing plastic bags.
So how do we fix this? How do we make sure this plastic trash doesn’t end up in our rivers, lakes, oceans, and coastlines?
Ocean privatization sounds far-fetched, but it’s definitely a potential solution
Saving our fish and waters with water capitalism is the way to go. This means that oceans, rivers, lakes, and aquifers would be privately owned.
Think of this for a moment, land covers 25% of the earth, water covers the remaining three quarters. Land owned by the public or government results in only a fraction of the gross domestic product (GDP), where private accounts for most of the GDP.
When something is privately owned it is generally better maintained and preserved. Think when you have private property it is usually better maintained than public housing. This even goes to why private transportation is also better.
Look at it this way…
What happened when the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth? Everyone maintained a communal property rule without individual property, which resulted in overgrazing, food shortages, and starvation. This led governor William Bradford to end this practice and allocate a parcel of land for each family.
This is what is happening to our oceans today. With no owner, fishing crews can go to sea and catch as much fish as they want, depleting the fish supply to dangerous levels.
Why do we still apply communal rules to oceans and lakes?
Economist Walter Block, wrote, “As a result we have oil spills, depletion of fish stocks, threatened extinction of some species (e.g., whales), shark attacks, polluted and dried-up rivers, misallocated water, unsafe boating, piracy, and other indices of economic disarray which, if they had occurred on the land, would have been more easily identified as the result of the tragedy of the commons and/or government ownership and mismanagement.”
So can we humans co-exist with fish friends?
The private sector is taking action on this front, with companies like Dell making package trays for it laptops with plastic from the ocean. Nestle is going to 100% recycled plastic packaging. Foodpanda is able to offer its customers disposable cutlery. It is estimated that the bioplastic industry by 2022, will become a $66 billion dollar niche.
All of these are good steps in the right direction, with countries like the U.S. being able to contribute better to recycling programs and ways to produce energy from plastic more so than poorer countries.
We know that prosperous countries do a better job at being able to help than impoverished or developing countries.
We can co-exist without destroying other species
Allowing private ownership of waters is a way to do this. This way we can all develop rules and laws that preserve and protect all creatures that feed the world, add beauty to the oceans and create new entire industries around it.
Let us save Nemo with Capitalism.
Sonia Rina Landry is a passionate entrepreneur, speaker, author, and personal development coach. She is an outspoken advocate of the free market economy and has helped countless clients identify their core values, envision and realize goals that resonate with those values. She oversees several businesses online and offline.