Plastic friends

False friends are worse than bitter enemies. Scottish proverb.

Contamination Garbage Environment Waste Plastic

Few things are more shocking than being betrayed by somebody you thought were your friend. And sometimes it takes a while to figure out who is not really your chum, but your foe.

After years of gestation, plastic bags became very popular in the 1960s. Many might remember the 1967 movie “The Graduate” where young Dustin Hoffman was told:

Mr. Maguire: There is a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?
Benjamin Braddock: Yes, I will.

Well, the great future has run its course, and it is time to phase it out and find a viable alternative. We don’t have to ship our garbage to some impoverished lands. We can find some innovative ways to dispose of it and recycle it into something useful.

For instance, “The VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has created a compostable multi-layer material from agricultural and forestry by-products, which could be used for stand-up food pouches for products such as muesli, nuts, dried fruit, and rice”

When it first appeared, plastic was very popular and everybody wanted it. It was cheap, could be molded in just about any shape and was practically indestructible. It could last till the End of Time… and it looks like it is trying.
Plastic penetrated every level of social strata, especially low-income dwellers. But It turned out that plastic was really a fake friend. Like an ill-mannered guest, it abused its welcome and became a big nuisance.

It invaded (and clogged) sewers, rivers and oceans. Its slow decomposition rate became an issue and the whole thing became a giant problem. Plastic refuses are now littering oceans and shores everywhere. They are eyesores and are perilous for marine life.

So far, few heads of state have shown the will to fight that scourge. Resistance started as usual with a few young entrepreneurs tired of government’s inaction.

There are now many individual groups actively pursuing oceans’ cleanup. But it is not enough. It is everybody’s moral duty to fight pollution by implementing a personal policy of restraint. Shun plastic products and urge your legislators to implement laws banning its usage.

Personally, I want my next president to be an environmentalist, not a profit-minded “businessman”.

If you care about your children’s future, think about this the next time you vote.

Alain

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