Our Plastic Society

Plastics are insidious in our society today--plastic bottles, bags, toys, packaging and more. And some of them are bad plastics--containing toxic chemicals like bisphenol-A, PVC and phthalates.

Not only are some plastics harmful to our health, they can also damage the environment, especially our waterways and oceans. Here is a thought-provoking video about the effects of plastic pollution:


Projects like The Ocean Cleanup will help, but will take years to complete. Meanwhile, additional debris, including tons of plastics, will continue to be discarded.

Many plastics and other debris end up in the ocean after natural disasters, like hurricanes and tsunamis. When I was a utility responder in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina, I saw huge amounts of material from destroyed homes and businesses.  One of the photos I took, below, shows the level of destruction.
Unfortunately, many plastics enter the environment because we litter, or throw them away instead of properly recycling them.

We can help by properly disposing or recycling--and by using alternatives to single-use plastic containers when possible, as per this article on the Bad Plastics website.

However, plastics are not evil. The characteristics (waterproof, versatile, easy to work with, low-cost), make them desirable for everything from water mains to artificial limbs. 

Even plastic water bottles have their place--to provide  a critical need during times of emergency. During our Katrina response, we packed hundreds of cases of bottled water to distribute to the victims.
That being said, we should all do our part to use plastics responsibly when necessary and recycle or dispose of them properly.

Sometimes it takes seeing a video, photo, or reading an article to jog the mind into taking action.


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