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Home / Business / BBC – Future – A simple online system that could end plastic pollution

BBC – Future – A simple online system that could end plastic pollution

Once upon a time there was a coast that was spilled with enough garbage to make it invisible, justifying the unfortunate nickname "toilet bowl". Now the Philippine beach in the Bay of Manila is unrecognizable clean compared to a few months ago, such a sudden and extreme change that tears came to the residents.

The cleanup began on January 27, when 5,000 volunteers came to Manila to remove over 45 tons of garbage from Bay, marking the start of a nationwide environmental cleanup campaign. But two months before the beginning of this massive movement, a quiet revolution was already underway.

In the first week of December 2018, the Brooklyn-based Bounties Network collected three tons of garbage in Manila Bay over two days. A small network of people, mostly fishermen, for every dumpster with a digital currency based on the Ethereum system.

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For the mostly non-bank Filipinos Fischer, this was a very first experience with a cryptocurrency. This could prove to be crucial in enabling poor communities around the world to deal with weapons in the fight against human waste, starting at the source of the world's major marine pollution.

There is evidence that this recycling is for digitization The payment industry may be on the brink of recovery. In early September 201

8, Plastic Bank, a Vancouver-based blockchain company based on IBM technology, launched a similar project. In Naga, a city in the south of Luzon, the country's largest island, they have set up a system to set up a permanent collection point where people can use a reward system to exchange plastic and recyclable materials for digital payments. According to Shaun Frankson, co-founder of Plastic Bank, three more similar locations near Manila Bay will open in the next six months.

Given the country's contribution to the ocean, it is not surprising that both pioneers have selected the Philippines as their first location waste. A 2015 Wall Street Journal study found that the Philippines is the third largest emitter of plastic waste in the world's oceans, sending nearly two million tonnes of garbage annually. Only China and Indonesia produce more plastic waste.

Around 80% of oceanic plastic products in developing countries come from areas of high poverty, IBM researchers have discovered. This finding could now trigger a revolution in plastic waste recycling to empower people living in poverty in these regions. Other projects are already being organized by Bounties Network in Thailand and Indonesia, as well as by Plastic Bank in Indonesia and Haiti, which are planning global expansion next year.

The Philippines, a country with a knack for introducing new technologies, is offering The Perfect Background to test the new business model for recycling.

The use of digital payouts to combat marine pollution is perhaps one of the most impressive examples of how this new world of money can best be used.

"Bounties Network has completed the Coins.ph partnership to ensure that people can trade the Ethereum for Fiat [currency]," says Simona Pop, co-founder of the Bounties Network.

The use of digital payments to combat marine pollution could be one of the most striking examples of how this new world of money can best be used. In the most deprived communities in the world, people often lack formal bank accounts, but they are often the source and victims of seemingly insurmountable challenges associated with plastic waste.

The fishermen who participated in the Bounties Network cleanup in December collected a world of unholy garbage plastics, mattresses, diapers, school supplies, shoes, children's dolls and slippers. The waste has poisoned the water of the bay, which is indeed a major challenge to the government's rehabilitation program.

Yet it is the recycling habits that are conveyed through digital payout programs to these communities that are more valuable in the long run than superficial garbage removal.

"It's like killing two birds with one stone," says Christina Gallano, a technical project manager who oversaw the Bounties Network project. "We train people and make them realize the benefits of a cleaner environment and the long term impact of a larger amount of fish."

In some cases, this means saving as much as 50% of the original funds, otherwise for Third Party Fees – Simona Pop

While the Bounties Network is pursuing a grassroots approach, the Plastic Bank method also seeks to involve commercial actors. "Companies of all kinds can use our free application on their basic smartphone to run their businesses and accept Plastic Bank's digital premiums as an alternative to cash payments," says Frankson. Local grocery stores or banks can manage a point-of-sale system, real-time inventory tracking, automated reporting, secure access for employees, and instant digital evidence.

Then there is the enormous cost savings potential that results from this disruption benefits both lenders and agents and avoids traditional banks and their fees.

"In some cases this means saving up to 50% of the original funds that would otherwise be spent on third-party fees. Therefore, we have received great interest from large non-profit organizations to continue this pilot in other locations with different use cases", says pop.

The Bounties Network's two-day Manila Bay project employed Fisher for an hour or two for about $ 2.50 (1.97), which is almost double the daily wage for someone in the Philippines who has a minimum wage. The final bill for cleanup was $ 700 (£ 550) for about three tons of waste. The same results with the official government program would have cost $ 10,500.

This kind of bang for the money is impressive no matter how you measure it. The real changes brought about by these pilot projects are evidence that blockchain technology offers tangible benefits over cash. A cleaner Manila Bay can only be the beginning.

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