The fight against ocean pollution must take place on land, by managing and recovering waste properly and by improving wastewater treatments. This affects us all: institutions, companies, associations, and citizens. Every one of us, on our own scale, can take action to protect the ocean: from simple waste sorting to the implementation of innovative solutions.
80% of maritime pollution is of land-based origin and 90% is caused by plastics. Plastic waste, when not collected, sorted and recovered on land, eventually reaches the seas and oceans via rivers where it breaks down into micro and nanoplastics. Water from washing machines is also responsible: one washing cycle releases thousands of plastic microfibres (contained in synthetic clothing) into the sewage network.
Which is why the fight against ocean pollution must continue on land, by managing and recovering waste properly and by improving wastewater treatment. Everyone can take action to protect the oceans: institutions, companies, associations, citizens.
Preventing microplastics from reaching the ocean
Together with partners, we have launched the first ever research programme focusing on microfibre pollution. Its aim is to improve the capacity of wastewater treatment plants to retain microfibres on land. The programme has already provided an initial diagnosis. We are also leading the Microplastic research programme, conducted with several public and private partners, which aims to detect, quantify and model dispersion, and study risks to the ecosystem.
Methods for sampling and analysing microplastics adapted to wastewater have been developed and made more reliable. Measurement campaigns have been carried out on wastewater treatment plants to determine the performance of the different treatment technologies. Results indicate that plants can cut microplastics by 80 to 98% depending on the treatment methods used.
Individual consumers can also change their purchasing habits by reducing, for example, synthetic clothing, toothpastes and cosmetics containing microbeads and by washing their clothes better (cold washing to avoid breaking fibres, filling the machine properly to reduce machine cycles, etc.).
Reusing plastic collected on beaches
Head & Shoulders of the P&G brand has got together with TerraCycle and SUEZ to create the world's first shampoo bottle made from 25% recycled beach plastic. This innovation, available in France, will represent the world's largest production cycle involving a single supply chain thanks to the support of thousands of volunteers and hundreds of NGOs that collected plastic waste from beaches. More than one million bottles have been produced from plastic collected on beaches.
Listening to the sea to preserve marine ecosystems
Listening to the sea to preserve marine ecosystems
Our latest innovation for ocean protection involves listening to underwater sounds. It works by combining collection and analysis of underwater sounds by our Otosea©™ measuring station using an application that provides real-time and remote access to the state of the marine environment (Sea@dvanced sound®™). Its aim is to assess the quality of marine biodiversity and the impact of man-made noise emissions in order to reduce the pressure, particularly acoustic pressure, that humans exert on marine ecosystems.
Eric Blin, SUEZ Environment and Coastal Expert and designer of this solution, said: "This is cutting-edge acoustic technology that enables us to understand marine biodiversity better and remotely ‘monitor’ the sea’s health.
Organising a plastic waste collection
Our website suez4ocean encourages as many people as possible (citizens, organisations, etc.) to organise and participate in plastic waste collections on coastlines and in catchment areas. Since the launch of suez4ocean, 48 collections have been organised worldwide, 1,650 ocean guardians have been mobilised and 15.5 tonnes of waste have been collected.
Encouraging citizens to be eco-friendly to reduce plastic pollution with Réco
According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, there could be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2030. To reduce this pollution and increase the proportion of recycled plastics, we have developed the Réco offer, an incentive solution that allows residents to receive a voucher for each returnable plastic bottle.
Deployed with the support of our partners, supermarkets and local authorities, we aim to increase plastic recycling rates by 2030 in line with the European Union's objective of recycling 30% of plastic bottles by 2030. In 2018, there were 100 Réco kiosks in France, collecting nearly 100 million bottles and flasks, or more than 2,800 tonnes of plastic.
Restore the shellfish reefs of Port Philip Bay
In Australia, shell reefs are among the most threatened marine habitats in the country. They suffer from pollution, introduced species and industrial fishing activities. Yet they provide many economic, social and environmental services to coastal communities and environments, including job creation, coastal protection and biofiltration.
That's why we partnered with The Nature Conservancy to restore and better protect them. Together, we developed the ambitious "Shuck Don't Chuck" project in Port Philip Bay, which involves collecting used shells from seafood served in local restaurants and recycling them into marine habitats to restore the Bay. These shells allow oysters and mussels to attach themselves to them and grow, so that more shellfish can return to the reefs.
The result: less waste, rejuvenated habitat for all species and a return on investment for fishers to sustain better fish supplies and healthy ecosystems.