With Earth Day approaching, we zero in on the green advocates of Tatler Asia’s Most Influential list who have made it their mission to solve one of the biggest problems we are facing today: plastic waste. A January 2022 report by the Environmental Investigation Agency notes that “[p]lastic pollution is one of the most prevalent environmental pollutants and a significant driver of climate change and biodiversity loss.” It’s not hard to believe when you see it everywhere, accumulating on roadsides, floating on waterways and finding its way in animals (and even in human blood). Plastic waste is a global crisis, and these green champions are creating alternatives and solutions to reduce its accumulation.
Douglas Woodring, Hong Kong
After finding plastic waste while diving in a remote spot in Palau, Douglas Woodring was prompted to establish the Ocean Recovery Alliance, the environmental NGO that creates programs to reduce plastic pollution in communities and industries. Its many projects include the Global Alert app, which is used to report trash hotspots in waterways and coastlines, and the Plasticity Forum, an annual conference that forecasts the future of plastic—recycling, design, materials and more. Recently, it launched Spyhop Facewear, a washable face mask whose proceeds are directed to protecting the ocean. According to the organisation, the colourful mask can prevent at least 160 pieces of plastic waste when used more than 80 times.