07
Jan-2018

Plastic: Out of sight, out of mind

Out of sight, out of mind

I think most people will agree that the pollution of world oceans by single use plastics is a major problem. On our way to our favourite beach resort on Christmas and back after New Year we got held up by quite a lot of delays. Lots of waiting time. So obviously you watch your environment and fellow humans during those times because there is not much else to do. One thing that became very obvious is the lack of awareness about the problem of plastic garbage in the oceans. People were just throwing all these single use plastics, bags, packaging materials, drink bottles, instant noodle cups, etc, in the water, even if there was a trash can on the boat.

Banning single use plastic is one thing. Just disposing it properly would already be a good start.

We had the same situation in the 1970s back home when I was a teenager. 40-50 years ago. Cigarette buts, cigarette boxes, trash, just thrown out of the car window. Nobody does that anymore there, but here it is still common practice.

On the way back to Luzon my kids started to collect plastics on the ferry that were thrown by passengers on the deck, and blown by the wind overboard. The ran after it and tried to collect it and dispose of  it in the rubbish bin, which was visible placed on the deck. Only one of the local passengers followed suit. Highly appreciated, but somehow I feel he did it because he might want to show some sympathy with the foreign white kids that cared about something strange. But as Miriam said, taking small steps is better than doing nothing.

There were a lot of reports in the international media in 2017 about the problems plastic trash is causing in the world’s oceans and the threats to marine life. One of the biggest environmental crises in the making. The West is guilty, but some of the Southeast Asian countries are also being major users of single use plastics and disposing them in the oceans and thus contributors to the mess significantly. Nevertheless nobody seems to care. Everybody just wants to be have his own progress in life, economic success I guess, but protecting the environment is last priority.

A million bottles a minute: world’s plastic binge ‘as dangerous as climate change’
Defending the Ocean for all life on earth
Plastic statistics

Being a foreigner I know that people will call us hypocrites because of our above average lifestyle and consumption, fair enough, but throwing things in a trash can rather than just dumping it overboard of a ship in the ocean or even from a car in the landscape does not really take much effort for anybody. And everybody benefits from a better, cleaner environment and marine life. It does not cost anything. And it is easy to do.

Miriam and I were lamenting quite a bit about the senseless dumping of waste. We know that many people share our concern. And some are quite active already. So rather than complain, maybe it is time to do something for creating some awareness about the problems these habits cause. We are in the process to build an alliance with different people who are influential with respect to their peer groups and come up with a strategy to change peoples perceptions about protecting the environment. Trying to do our small step. Stay tuned. It is going to be exciting.

Plastic Rubbish found on a beach in Mindoro

A rubbish dump, also close to a beach in MindoroSingle use plastic thrown overboard a ferry from Abra to Batangas within a 10 minutes time frame

Plastic bags dropped on the car deck of the ferry, 15 minutes after boarding

Used single used soft drink bottle, the trash can was just 20 m away

More soft drink bottles

A local favorite, cup noodles.Disposed plastic fishing net on the beach.

 

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