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By Kimani Wiseman

The world is addicted to plastic. This addiction is crystal clear and it is very easy to find. Have a look at the condition of some of the beaches and rivers. Have a look in your garbage bin. Have a look in the gutters and in the streets. The addiction to plastic is staring us right in our eyes.

Single-use plastic is any plastic that is used once and is discarded, for example, plastic bottles, plastic straws, plastic bags, plastic food wrappers.  According to the United Nations, each year, an estimated eight million tonnes of plastic ends up in the ocean. This is equivalent to a full garbage truck dumped into the sea every minute. The article further states that 60 to 90% of the litter that accumulates on shorelines, the surface, and the seafloor is made up of plastic.

Around the world, one million plastic bottles are purchased every minute, while up to 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used worldwide every year.  Plastic is non-biodegradable, meaning that they remain in the environment for a very long time. When plastic enters the ocean, they are broken down by sunlight, wind, and wave action into “microplastics”.

Microplastics are small pieces of plastic less than 5 millimetres in size, which are worn down from larger plastics. Marine animals usually mistake microplastics for food. The micro blocks their digestive system, causing them to die. A dead whale that had washed up in the Philippines had 40kg (88lbs) of plastic bags inside its stomach. There were 16 rice sacks and “multiple shopping bags” in its stomach. This video of a plastic straw stuck in the lungs of a turtle sent shock waves around the world.

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The blue economy is the overall contribution of the ocean to economy, the need to address the environmental and ecological sustainability of the ocean, and the ocean economy as a growth opportunity for both developed and developing countries. How are countries around the world going to achieve the blue economy when the ocean is being used as a landfill? There are some countries that have already started to put measures in place for reducing their “plastic footprint” while others are not doing enough. The blue economy would not be achieved globally if citizens of each country do not unite to reduce their “plastic footprint”.  Here are some tips for alleviating plastic:

  • In Europe, a company is mixing plastic pellets with asphalt to make stronger roads. This
  • Purchase a reusable water bottle and carry it with you all the time. This would help to reduce plastic bottles in the environment.
  • Paper straws can be used instead of plastic straws. In some cases, if you can avoid using a straw, this option would be even better.
  • Some countries have already started to use cutleries made from bamboo to replace plastic cutleries. You can also keep some silverware at your office. This would reduce some of the plastic cutleries being used.
  • When you are going to the beach always carry a bag with you and throw all your garbage in it, you should then discard that bag in a garbage bin. Leaving all your garbage at the beach would eventually end up in the ocean.
  • A picture tells a thousand words. Murals can be used to highlight the effects of plastic in the ocean to help spread awareness.
  • International coastal cleanup is celebrated in September. More persons should definitely take part in this activity to help to remove a lot of garbage from various beaches.
  • Carry a reusable shopping bag with you when you go at the supermarket.
  • More recycling should be done.

The ocean provides a livelihood for fisher folks, it provides us with seafood which we depend on for protein, and it also contributes significantly to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of a lot of countries. When our house is dirty, we clean it, when our clothes are dirty, we wash them, why pollute the ocean? And what would you be doing to reduce your plastic footprint?

3 replies on “The catastrophe of plastic”

  1. This is a subject that is not taken seriously. Yes, we are addicted to plastic and once a plastic item is created it stays around for decades, many decades. Consider the tons of plastic created every day and most of it ends up in the ocean. It is not difficult to see what will happen to the earth even 50 years from now with all this plastic being created. Even though many people tke it seriously there is no way to avoid being forced to support this future of us “drowning” in plastic.
    Instead we are being told that the world will come to an end in 12 years because of “global warming” and CO2. The global warming agenda is the biggest fraud ever perpetrated in world history. The biggest supporters of the agenda are the super rich and the fossil fuel industry. In many countries there is already a tax on having cows. These Global Warming “Carbon Nazis” care nothing about the harm done from fracking and pollution. It has been discovered that probably all the recent forest fires in Australia were started by these brain-washed fanatics. Over 100 arrests have been made! You won’t find that in the Corporate Media. The purpose of the Global Warming agenda is to get more ofthe middle-class people’s money by the politicians and thier banker and rich friends, and make us feel good about it that we are “saving the planet” and that us allowing them to take our money will make the bad weather go away.

  2. A trip to Indian Bay and one to Villa Beach was bad enough but going to the other usable beaches that we have here, will give us the shocking extent to which we have allowed the amount of discarded plastic-rubbish and other discarded items to pollute the few otherwise safe bathing spots that we have here on our mainland. Compare and contrast:

    I keep listening to much glib talk here of luxury hotels being built and how we will be making millions from a new influx of foreign tourist coming from the Americas and Europe. That I say could only be a pipe dream. A fantastic notion or vain hope when our few beaches are so grossly polluted with so much discarded plastic and LIAT air fares to get here being what they are.

    Just compare for one minute a flight from London, England to BARBADOS, coupled with the added LIAT Fare to SVG, which may be nearly just as much.

    Contrast that with a Londoner’s direct flight to the exotic Maldives noted above, then we will get a quick reality check. “British Airways offers direct ten-hour flights to Male three times a week between March and October – return fares cost from £702. Emirates, Etihad, Qatar and Turkish Airways fly to the Maldives year-round but all have at least one stop”.

    We here need to get to grips with our delinquent behaviour at how we are disposing of our plastic that are polluting rivers, the beaches and the Sea.

  3. I have already posted a comment but it was not posted. Kenton may not post this comment either. Here is a link stating why plastic may be even much worse than what the article tells us:

    Another thing this link tells us, if the reader applies common sense and, although it is not written in the article, is that if not all plastics are the same and all have a different effect on the environment, it is also true of Carbon Emissions. What the Global Warming Nazis ignore is the fact that CO2 IS NOT A POLLUTANT! Instead it is a necessary molecule essential to sustaining all life on planet earth. No! It is the pollutants that are associated with and combine with CO2 that are the problem. The Global Warming Nazis want all of us to think that what we breath out of our mouths is the same as what comes out of the back of a car, and the same as what goes into the air when we compost plants or even burn plastics or car tires. On an elementary level we all know this is not true so we should not act as if it is true. These things are all different, and CO2 is not the malevolent part of any of it.

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