Christmas and Independence are behind us; Easter and Labour Day lie ahead. These are some of the great litter-generating occasions.
The Styrofoam food container ban is just about concluded, and the handled single-use plastic ban has entered phase one. This is all good news, though there will obviously be some temporary inconvenience and expense as we adjust. But this is nothing compared with the pain and cost of diseases and toxicity caused by these substances. We salute the government for having joined the flow of countries that see the terrible risks to health that they represent.
This leaves a lot to be done, however. What about plastic bottles? We must find a way of keeping these out of the sea. It is no defence to say that other countries generate more. What about the huge slabs of Styrofoam that are imposed on us by countries that export fridges and washing machines to us? Yes, it’s cheap, it’s convenient, it does a magnificent job – but it leaves the disposal problem with us. And it never breaks down into harmless substances.
Beer bottles are returnable for a deposit. Just compare the number of beer bottles you see lying around with the number of plastic bottles. The fact that we do not – as yet – have a way of paying out a few cents for a returned plastic bottle does not give anyone the right to drop them just anywhere, adding to the 8 million tonnes of plastic that end up in the ocean — hence in our fish — every year. That’s the weight of 2 million elephants. (This leaves 202 million tonnes that do not end up in the sea – where does that all go?)
A million? That’s the number of seconds in 11 1/2 days.
Tourism, they say, is everyone’s business. Literally. So is responsible consumerism. So is garbage disposal. Use the bins, refuse the plastics.