|Choking on Plastic: Trash in Our Oceans and Waterways|
|Wednesday, 27 June 2012 10:00 | Written by Marita Prandoni | Blog Entry|
The Ocean Conservancy organizes an annual international coastal cleanup that takes place on the third Saturday of September. Based on their annual collective beachcombing, they publish an informative report called "A Rising Tide of Ocean Debris and What We Can Do About It."
The most frequent items found each year are cigarette butts, plastic bags and food wrappers or containers. This illustrates a huge problem. Cigarette butts and single-use packaging do not break down. Nor are they biodegrading in landfills. Plastic requires sunlight to break down and, if littered, it blows across the landscape, ends up in the rivers and bobs out to the ocean. Future generations could be dealing with a litter-strewn planet for centuries, if not longer.
Until there are laws that require manufacturers to pay for and clean up the waste they generate—which could be a long time given that the US is light years behind Europe in holding corporations responsible for damage to the environment and public health—it falls on the consumer to avoid using non-biodegradable plastic and to boycott single-use packaging.
Single-use packaging is downright tacky. Friends don’t let friends use it. So I’ve developed some habits to be part of the solution:
I will be the first to admit that I’ve been a sinner. But as these practices become second nature, I cringe at the sight of people at a store loading up paper or plastic bags filled with single-use packaging. Just think about the sea turtles, dolphins, whales and all the innocent creatures. Like Eco Hero, J. Nichols of Ocean Revolution, and millions of others across the globe, I have an inordinate fondness for them.
Please share your ideas for everyday habits that will leave our planet more habitable.
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