Billions of single-use plastic water bottles are used once and then thrown "away" every year around the world. Of these, less than 30% are recycled, leading to almost 8 million tonnes of plastic ending up in the world's oceans annually.
In 2018 we set ourselves a goal to eliminate the consumption of single-use plastic (SUP) water bottles on board our vessels. Our Fleet Managers worked hard to install the reverse osmosis units on board our fleet to ensure we provide good quality potable water for our seagoing employees. We also introduced reusable water bottles to encourage our seafarers to say no to single-use plastic. During 2019 we have achieved significant reductions across our bulk and liner fleet:
We are determined to continue our journey on the road towards zero SUP water bottles within our fleet. This will be a significant contribution towards protecting our oceans and working together to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 14 (Life Below Water) which aims to have sustainably managed marine and coastal ecosystems free from pollution.
We are planning to install the reverse osmosis system on other vessels in our fleet and we hope to eliminate SUP water bottles completely.
Besides our drive to do the right thing, the IMO has made a call to regulate against the use of SUP water bottles on board. As ship-owners we are obliged to provide clean potable water, under the MLC; and all our vessels produce their own water through reverse osmosis from seawater. Approximately 20 tonnes can be distilled each day and this is then kept in storage tanks for all freshwater needs on board. The water is tested to ensure compliance with MLC requirements.
In the office, we launched the "Say No to Single-Use Plastic" campaign in October 2019 as part of our efforts to help reduce employees' plastic footprint. Every shore-based employee received a pack comprising reusable items in a cotton bag including a metal straw, a BPA-free reusable plastic bottle / aluminium bottle, and a stainless steel fork and spoon.
We have received a lot of positive feedback from our employees and we are proud that many expressed their intent to support the cause and Say No to Single-Use Plastic, be more mindful of their daily actions and adopt a more sustainable lifestyle.
Plastic waste is becoming an epidemic worldwide. In the Asia Pacific region, more than 370 million people inhabit the 4,000 islands, generating 11 million tonnes of plastic waste per year. 74% of plastic leakage comes from this region as there is no proper infrastructure for waste. Plastic is polluting the oceans and lands, affecting wildlife and damaging our health.
On 9th April 2019, we invited Louise Hardman, the founder of The Plastic Collective, to share how they educate communities on eliminating, innovating and circulating single-use plastic. It is a social enterprise which aims to provide plastic waste solutions to communities in remote islands by remoulding plastics into practical and useful items, and in turn, providing income.