#55 – Plastic Waste

David Attenborough urges action on plastics after filming Blue Planet II

I was reading this really interesting article in The Guardian entitled “David Attenborough urges action on plastics after filming Blue Planet II” and there were so many thoughts that jumped into my mind again.

It’s been a while since I’ve really thought about plastic and the spinoffs (e.g. pollution, waste, trash, etc.), and this article brought it all back. It’s definitely a concern of mine and an interest that began maybe a year ago when I first started reading about these subjects, about zero waste, minimalism, etc.

I think it’s important. You may not believe that climate change is real, but you certainly can’t deny that trash is real…and that it’s becoming an increasingly demanding problem. People like David Attenborough have seen some of the worst effects of plastic and how it can kill animals:

We’ve seen albatrosses come back with their belly full of food for their young and nothing in it. The albatross parent has been away for three weeks gathering stuff for her young and what comes out? What does she give her chick? You think it’s going to be squid, but it’s plastic. The chick is going to starve and die.

It doesn’t take much to notice how plastic and plastic trash is literally everywhere and once you do, you can’t un-notice it.

When I started paying attention to it, I started noticing it all around me in my immediate surroundings. It’s still there. If I go for a walk around my neighborhood, there’s plastic (and just trash in general) on every street.

If I go for a walk along the beach, there’s plastic trash everywhere. Most of what I’ve seen is plastic straws, cups and bottles. I’ve also seen plastic forks and spoons. The beach where I usually go is lined with all-inclusive resorts and the trash is obviously from beach restaurants & bars that use plastic, because it’s “safe” to use on the beach as opposed to glass and metal, I guess. Plus, it’s easy and disposable.

However, the problem begins before the plastic ends up on the street, on the beach, in the ocean or in the stomach of some poor bird. The problem begins with us consumers and our (often excessive) consumption and with the companies supplying the plastic…often forcing it upon us. A lot of the time, there’s no alternative. The tourists eating and drinking on the beach where I live, don’t have any alternative to using the plastic plate, forks & knives, cups & straws because the resorts don’t give them another option. So, consumption is forced upon them. But I still think more should complain to management – if they care and if they want to.

But then again, most people may not really care. Most people may not care where plastic ends up – on the street or in the ocean even though we all have an impact on nature and we’re all to blame for its demise.

We have a responsibility, every one of us,” he said. “We may think we live a long way from the oceans, but we don’t. What we actually do here, and in the middle of Asia and wherever, has a direct effect on the oceans – and what the oceans do then reflects back on us.

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