Monday, 10 June 2019

Plastic Love

The BBC programme on Hugh and Anita's war on single use plastic raises many important issues in an entertaining fashion ( it will do it in later episodes but I think they could have stressed that microplastics may be an even worse problem. They did mention that plastic items dumped into our seas can generate microscopic particles (with potentially wide-spread effects on our food chains) but microplastics (difficult to see or to quantify) are also ingredients of many of the toiletries and cleaners used in our 'modern' societies. I'm also a bit prissy about counting the single use plastic items in one Bristol street and extrapolating to the entire UK to give an idea of the size of the potential problem. Any street is unlikely to  be wholly representative (I appreciate, however, that this wasn't intended as a scientific test). I would agree, however, that challenging supermarket packaging and charging practises is wholly appropriate. As is demythologising the claimed health benefits of bottled water over tap water in the UK. Clearly, the UK should not be dumping its collected plastic waste on other countries (this is simply exporting a problem that can come back to bite us). I even agree that the fact that different councils have highly variable policies on the collection of plastic waste, confuses and does nothing to help people's efforts to 'do the right thing'. One should certainly factor in the environmental costs of cleaning plastics before putting them out for recycling and don't get me started on black plastics!

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