Our Plastic Life
Death by suffocation. Is that how you'd fancy your end? Guess not. Plastic pollution is choking out nature and who's the villain? Don't look around - look straight at the reflection in the mirror because there's no excuse. Be not afraid KARMA has you covered.
Worldwide approximately 1 trillion plastic bags are used annually. That's just plastic bags. 100,000 marine animals die from plastic entanglement and these are those that are found each year (oceancrusaders.org). At least two thirds of the world's fish stocks are suffering from plastic ingestion, approximately 1 million sea birds die terrible painful death as their digestive system is blocked by plastics and 90% of sea birds have ingested plastic at some point in their lives.
Plastic pollution is not limited to the obvious plastic shopping bags you can see or straws; it also includes micro-beads found in cosmetics, toothpaste etc that also finds its way in the environment. Plastics have become ubiquitous. The story of plastics is linked to the war against cannabis and the issue of climate change is a story of political ineptitude and corruption.
The problem of pollution is a waste management challenge that is not being discussed at any level here in the presumed nature isle. Let's draw some inspiration from Germany. In 1991, Germany became the first country to implement a packaging ordinance where manufacturers are responsible for recycling and disposal of material after consumers have finished using it and relates to transportation, secondary and primary packaging. In 1996, the Closed Substance Cycle and Waste Management Act was introduced and laid the exemplary element of a circular economy where waste generated must be controlled, what is produced must be recyclable or if it can't be recycled, disposed of in an environmentally safe way. Also, the Green Dot as well was placed on goods and companies who have the dot on products also adhere to German recycle laws. This is significant in that policy can be used to ensure the polluter pays and strong sound government policy is vital to ensure real change.
Montreal based clean tech company PyroGenesis developed a commercial Marine Plasma Waste Destruction system for the US Navy. Consider the immense size of a US Navy Aircraft carrier that can sustain about 4,500 sailors and the amount of waste generated daily. This technology changes the molecular structure of the waste, has no harmful effect on the environment, runs off its own energy and is affordable. What if?
It's not unusual to see someone in the rural areas cooking in an outdoor kitchen and starting the fire with plastic. Do you know that burning plastics is harmful to your health? This common practise contributes to a range of health problems including eye irritation, respiratory issues, cancer and the phthalates affect us on a hormonal level.
New parents excited about their babies try to do the right thing and get BPA free feeding bottles. Do you know even if the labels say BPA free it's not a guarantee and there are so many other chemicals in the bottle that are harmful to your baby it's almost a trick. Even the latex or silicone nipples are not safe.
We are at a place where we cannot escape the detrimental effects of our plastic life. Turning a blind eye doesn't magically make it disappear. Next time you have seafood, picture the dying animals, microplastics that picked up toxins in the water, entered the food chain and now sits on your plate. Bon appetit!
When man fights nature, he fights against himself.
By Farah Theodore