We really need to address growing problem of our love of plastics

Opinion


Up to 80 plastic bags extracted from within a whale are seen in Songkhla, Thailand, in this still image from a June 1, 2018 video footage by Thailand’s Department of Marine and Coastal Resources. Thailand’s Department of Marine and Coastal Resources/Social Media/via REUTERS
Up to 80 plastic bags extracted from within a whale are seen in Songkhla, Thailand, in this still image from a June 1, 2018 video footage by Thailand’s Department of Marine and Coastal Resources. Thailand’s Department of Marine and Coastal Resources/Social Media/via REUTERS

In just a generation we have become the greatest litterbugs the world has ever seen.

We have gone from returning our glass milk bottles and soft-drinks bottles to get a few pennys to one which uses disposable plastic bottles in one short hop.

Our food used to come in cardboard boxes and wrapped in paper or in tins, now everything is foil-wrapped for freshness and convenience.

But whose convenience, the manufacturer certainly, the customer probably, our environment most definitely not.

Perhaps all the advances in packaging and distribution technology has helped keep the cost of food down, with economies of scale allowing vast factories to produce thousands and thousands of individual food items every hour, often 24 hours a day.

But all the food wrapping and packaging ends up somewhere and we are increasingly seeing the damaging effects it is having on society.

Just last week, we saw images of a dead whale which was found to have swallowed up to 80 plastic bags is seen in Songkhla, Thailand.

That should be a massive wake up call to us all.

We have seen the vast expanse of of plastic bottles floating in our oceans and in our rivers, all of which will take hundreds of years to decompose and even then will break down in micro-plastics which will still pollute our environment and enter the food chain.

When we were at school we learned of the half-life of radioactive elements such as plutonium and uranium and how they remain radioactive for hundreds and hundreds of years.

Plastic bottles are not as obviously dangerous to our health as plutonium, but their sheer volume which are disposed of in their millions every single day is a huge cause for concern.

We simply cannot continue to produce single-use plastic in the volumes we presently are doing.

We must change our ways.

The Argus