Plastics are killing our oceans!!! Animals die because of our plastics!! We are killing ourselves and our future because of plastic!
Sound familiar? People who use plastic shopping bags are usually given the stink eye, shaking head and the tsk tsk. They are vilified for using them. I’m not here to defend them, I’m simply here to ask you a question: is plastic the evil that the media makes it out to be?
May I respectfully request that you glance at the device in your hand or perhaps it’s in your back pocket or on the desk in front of you. Chances are it is within easy reach. I’m talking about your cell phone. Now look at it closely and tell me how much plastic is involved. Do you drive a car, a truck a van? Next time you’re inside look at the plastic that is throughout the vehicle. Have you visited the hospital lately? How do you think they would function without plastic?
Plastic is not the problem. Or rather it is the problem but we should be spending our time figuring out how to dissolve it, to dispose of it, instead of using one incredibly infinitesimal part of the bigger picture as the scapegoat, the bad guy, the evil incarnate. As a species, not all of us but far too many, don’t have a problem throwing things out the window, or tossing them on the street. We throw away everything and we don’t do it properly. That is why so much ends up in our oceans, it is our fault! We are dirty, insensitive and lazy cretins. Is that a little harsh? I don’t think so.
It takes hundreds if not thousands of years for plastic to decompose and that is simply not a good thing for the environment. But what if plastic could be used for extended periods and then dissolved? That is what scientists should be working on. We do recycle a lot of our plastics and that is a good thing but unfortunately not all recycling methods are successful. And that is our fault. We spend so much time creating new technology that we forget about how to dispose of the old technology. Like a small child on Christmas morning, we are excited about the new toy and forget about the old one.
The ubiquitous plastic is a part of our lives and we need to accept that fact. We can ameliorate the damage that it is doing if we put our minds to it. A blogging friend recently posted a picture of a sign on her blog that said: “On the beach and in the sea, animals do not leave trash; humans do. Please behave like animals.” I thought the sign was absolutely brilliant! And it is true. We need to clean up our act. Plastic is going to be with us for the rest of our lives and in future generations. Let’s learn to live with it appropriately and let the science figure out how to dispose of it.