Within a generation or two, mankind has created a monster that could well defeat us in the form of plastic, which pervades our society and is playing havoc on our environment. Plastic is everywhere and harder and harder to deal with. The Government’s tiny step of removing single use bags is ok but “too little, too late” rings in our ears.
It is hard to buy anything new without it arriving with un-needed plastic wrapping. Which idiot civil servant forced every fruit in NZ to have a little bit of annoying plastic stuck to it in the off-chance someone as dumb as them had to read that it was an apple or a kiwifruit? Why does every cucumber and now zucchini come wrapped in plastic?
Farmers wrap hay in plastic, toys that once were biodegradable wood and lasted at least for a while are now all junk plastic that kids discard as rapidly as the stuff breaks, all adding to the pile of unwanted plastic that is slowly taking us over.
For a few years we assiduously gathered our plastic and put it in with the recyclables only to find that it wasn’t really all that recyclable but was being re-exported to China for sorting and now they don’t want it back either.
Take a walk along our beaches and see how much is left there, you’ll be shocked. Excellent but tiny organisations like Sea Cleaners do their best to collect and remove this polluting plastic but the task is huge.
The recent floods in Westland that ripped open an old rubbish tip that was closed back in 1988 showed how little of the plastic has degraded and now whole swathes of that lovely deserted coast are covered in plastic.
We all know what fish and sea-life think about plastic. It hurts and kills everything out there especially the tiny little beads of plastic that result from grinding it up.
Remember that old movie, The Graduate, that first brought Dustin Hoffman to our screens and in the scene where he thinks about his future, an older businessman gives him one word of advice, “Plastic”. Well it was a good field to invest in, fortunes have been made but now, what do we do with the stuff and how do we stop the avalanche of more of it heading our way, aided and abetted by stupid rules requiring more and more use of it in the name of food safety.
We, the public need to get our political leaders to be as decisive over plastic as they have been over guns, cut the wrapping, incentivise real recycling of plastic waste and set the corrections customers to cleaning the coastline.