How will you be spending World Oceans Day, June 8th, this year?
I will be in India co-leading the National Geographic Sea to Source Expedition, their largest female-led expedition ever. We are going from the Bay of Bengal all the way to the Himalayas. We will be near the iconic and holy city of Varanasi, reported to be one of the oldest living cities in the world on the banks of the Ganges River, a river that eventually reaches the ocean (and where we started our expedition). We’ll be sampling the river water, sediment, and air, the land that is the source of plastic entering our waterways, and meeting with stakeholders and the communities to engage them in discussions on what they think needs to be done in their particular situation.
The plastic pollution problem can seem so overwhelming. Beyond switching to reusable water bottles and paper straws, what can the average person to do help?
First of all, I would love for people to get in touch with the waste they generate. I've also developed a Marine Debris Tracker and an app for people to report when they find plastic litter and debris. If you really want to dive into this, do your own waste audit. Or even better, count everything in 24 hours that you touch that is plastic. Then think about what you really need and don’t need. It will be different for everyone.
Thanks to our engineering, we have made it so easy to get rid of, recycle and dispose of waste that people barely have to think about it … it just goes away. But if you could be more thoughtful about what you purchase and the waste it generates, we might ask questions about why a product is packaged the way it is. If you can’t recycle something, why not? Is there a way to meet your needs, without producing more waste, especially through packaging? And if this is difficult, why is it so hard? Who can you talk to about making it easier? Your municipality? Corporations? Influencing others and making your voice heard is exactly how this collective action can have impact.
Learn about HP's commitment to sustainability in the 2018 Sustainability Impact Report.
Read how HP is turning Haiti’s mountains of plastic garbage into high-tech printer gear.