The Waste Stream
Thomas McInerney

The biggest part of the plastic problem is acceptance. We have completed two years of surveys on Lake Geneva in Switzerland. Our study concludes that you have a higher probability of finding more trash on the shore line here than most places in Europe. But the reference point is always an « Ocean problem », somewhere faraway from wherever the reader currently is.

This the abbreviated research paper we produced “The ln(beach-litter-density)

What you will find is that the garbage is flowing downhill from a higher density to a lower density. The problem is uphill and upstream. The flowrate is accelerating and there is no push for this to change. We can identify the 16 categories of products that make up 60%-70% of the density at any point on the lake (the same categories make up 40%-50% worldwide).

Development of easily maintainable systems that remove solid waste from the water is the key. Contrary to what many believe this is not the actuality. For instance, on Lake Geneva, 7–10% of the trash that we find goes through the water treatment plants before it hits the lake…. (<_>)

This is a case study about one flashpoint on the lake “No Bikinis here”:

So there is work to do there ! There are technical solutions to a lot of these problems, however for them to be financed they must go through community/state budgets (which means politics and lobbying) thus adding to the cost and delaying deployment.

I think that if a finance system was setup, allowing communities to choose from a variety of proven measures and borrow money at a “Preferential rate” you could develop an investment product that gives predictable yields over the long term (interesting to pension plans and other institutional investors) and whose social and environmental benefits could be expressed concretely to investors.

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