A new study shows Maui County’s 2018 polystyrene ban had limited impact on Valley Isle beaches.
Of the five beaches studied, only two showed a minor reduction in polystyrene debris after the ban, said Dr Jennifer Lynch, co-director of the Hawaii Pacific University Center for Marine Debris Research and one of the scientists who worked on the study.
Lynch says if the county wants to significantly reduce plastic on beaches, it should focus on international foreign fishing fleets, which use plastic lines and nets.
“I really hope you know, the United States, the State of Hawaii and counties are getting involved in dealing with the highest volume of plastic waste that washes up in Hawaii – and raising our voices, having international conversations “, said Lynch.
“I know the state of Hawaii already has great relationships with many Asian countries where a very large percentage of the North Pacific plastic comes from,” she said. “Really make it a priority to have these conversations.”
Maui County banned foam catering containers made from polystyrene in 2018.
Supporters of the ban said it would protect wildlife, reduce plastic litter on our beaches and in the ocean, and help fight climate change.
This interview aired on The Conversation on February 4, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.