Use of bioplastic a good step towards a greener, safer world

It is a well-known fact that marine animals, such as sea turtles, and some seabirds often mistake floating plastic packaging and carriers for food, which results in their deaths, as the plastic later clogs up their digestive system.

Our oceans are practically swirling with tonnes of plastic garbage such as plastic bottles.

Even though many countries may have laws to prohibit littering, these plastics still find their way into the oceans.

A Florida company's ingenious method of using wheat and barley left over from the process of brewing beer to replace plastic six-pack rings may provide the answer ("Edible six-pack rings to feed animals instead of killing them"; June 2).

In fact, we should start phasing out plastic packaging and bottles used in everyday grocery items, and substitute plastic with a material that is made from agriculture and food processing by-products, or bioplastic, which could double as feed for sea animals.

If the sea animals can eat the bioplastic, more research can be done to see if the new material can be adapted to feed farm animals as well.

There is far too much plastic in our modern life.

Plastic has been proven to be a threat to marine life, and it releases carbon dioxide when incinerated.

Despite this, plastic bags continue to be given out liberally by shops and businesses to customers.

Even if the optimal recycling rate can be reached in Singapore eventually, either through mandatory laws or public education, we will encounter another problem.

There is only a certain number of times plastics can be recycled, as there would be a degradation of quality with each recycling process.

Just as chlorofluorocarbons have been banned worldwide to prevent the depletion of the ozone layer, we can say "no" to plastic packaging and bottles.

It would be a colossal project to round up the tonnes of marine debris and plastic garbage from oceans, and we must ensure that no additional such garbage flows out to the sea.

It is said that the job of scientists is to warn about impending environmental disasters, but it is governments who can really take action to change things.

Lee Kay Yan (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2016, with the headline 'Use of bioplastic a good step towards a greener, safer world'. Print Edition | Subscribe