Waste colonialism and plastic pollution targeted in NZ ‘pure’ campaign

The PURE Aotearoa tour ... facilitating discussions and workshops, and showcasing the severity of plastic pollution. Image: PURE

By Sylvia C. Frain in Auckland

Aotearoa/New Zealand’s status as a “wasteful country” is one of the targets of the PURE 2018 tour launched in Auckland earlier this month.

More than 12 million metric tons of plastics enter oceans and waterways globally each year, directly impacting on New Zealand’s coastal communities, food sources, and sea birds.

New Zealand was recently ranked the world’s 10th most wasteful country, producing 3.68 kilos of waste per capita a day.

The launch began with a hui highlighting the current toxic impacts of plastic pollution on public health, food systems, and the oceanic environment.

The hui objectives:

  • Exploring plastic pollution on our shores
  • Hearing from all stakeholders in a search for solutions
  • Discussing potential national strategies for immediate action on long term solutions.

The trans-Oceanic collaboration, between Para Kore promoting the zero waste, Tina Ngata of the Non-Plastic Māori blog, the founders of the United States-based 5 Gyres Institute, and the Algalita Marine Research and Education organisation, receives support from Massey University and Okeanos, Foundation for the Sea.

The tour is creating strategies of for accountable management and plastic prevention. The discussion included understanding the “green washing” of recycling and how to envision a future of stopping all plastics at the source.

Tying plastic pollution into issues of social justice, decolonisation, and food security, presenter Dr Steph B. Borrelle said: “If we are serious about addressing plastic pollution as a global crisis, then we cannot ignore the issue of waste colonialism.

“Countries of privilege burden others with their consumerism then turn their backs on the consequences.”

The PURE tour around the country will continue to facilitate discussions and workshops and showcase the severity of plastic pollution.

The organisers are encouraging involvement from the community, iwi, youth, and educators and will conduct scientific sampling across Aotearoa.

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SOURCEPacific Media Centre
Dr Sylvia C. Frain is an AUT Strategic Research Investment Fund 2018 Postdoctoral Fellow attached to the Pacific Media Centre in Auckland University of Technology's School of Communication Studies. Dr Frain’s research is part of an ongoing collaboration of artists, activists, and academics who explore (de)colonisation and (de)militarisation efforts and resistance and solidarity (fluidarity) across Oceania through a gendered and visual lens.