Shipping Industry Cracks Down on Plastic Waste

CC BY 2.0. US Army Corps of Engineers

Of all the places to take action on marine litter, this one makes the most sense.

Progress might be mixed on curbing air pollution from ocean-going ships, but it's not all bad news. Business Green reports that the International Maritime Organization has adopted a new plan to crack down on plastic pollution and other litter escaping from ships into the oceans.

This is great news. Just like Jamaica banning single-use plastics, or ferry companies ditching the straw, action on plastic waste is most urgent in places where that waste is most likely to escape into the marine environment.

And it doesn't take a genius to realize that ships would be ground zero on this front.

Among the measures being proposed are efforts to beef up waste processing capacity at ports, initiatives to mark and track fishing gear to prevent dumping and "ghost nets," efforts to report shipping container losses, as well as a study to understand the sources of marine litter from boats and develop ways to prevent it.

Every single one of these efforts should be welcomed. But it doesn't let shipping off the hook for its gigantic carbon footprint. It might be time to get serious about bringing back sail power too...