Community Commentary

COMMUNITY COMMENTARY: Plastics aren’t as convenient as they seem to be

Are you living in Plastic-ville? It’s not just out there in the ocean somewhere; it’s coming from every shore, every household and every consumer. You can stick your head in the sand, but unfortunately that sand is full of plastic. Algalita Marine Research Foundation’s Charlie Moore calls it a “cultural exchange program,” referring to the mountains of detritus… foreign and domestic garbage… he has pulled from The Gyre over the past decade.
Unless you are brain dead or have stock in oil/chemical companies, why would anyone believe that plastic is benign? No worries; just recycle. I’ve been told for years by chemical engineers, big shots who work for Dow, DuPont, etc., that I’m just a silly woman for saying that PET is not something I want in my clothing, water bottles, toys, carpeting, etc. Really? Turns out they’re dead wrong.
How can a petrochemical introduced into the human body have no consequence? Not only is it in us, but if it’s on us, it’s in us as well — the skin being very much like a sponge. Over decades, the evidence is mounting: hormone disrupters are infecting our food supply and our health. Don’t believe me? Do your own research. Question anyone who seeks to protect their profits while continuing to sell you more illness in a better plastic package. I wonder if Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, actually drinks that crap she calls a “glorious product” from a plastic bottle.
Last year, I was shocked to learn that my local state senator’s aide had never even heard of “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch” while she was representing us on AB 1998 (the Bag Ban) being debated in Sacramento. The bill was defeated after about $3 million was spent claiming it was a tax, jobs would be lost, bacteria would kill us and other nonsensical arguments made by very serious lobbyists.
I recently went for a walk on “Dog Beach” with a friend who helped himself to the “Pooper-scoop” dispenser that the City of Del Mar provides. He was embarrassed when I pointed out the folly of not simply using a piece of paper like junk mail! I asked him if he thought the bag of feces would be recycled. Later, he watered the darling dogs from a PET bottle, so I offered him mine… a glass Sobe bottle with a neoprene sleeve around it. This guy was one of the original founders of a San Diego water-watchdog group. Hello!
We are the idiot children of an illegitimate affair between our out-of-control national debt and reliance on cheap plastics. Our addiction to credit and the resulting debt to China, our addiction to oil from OPEC and the rising price of gasoline, lack of manufacturing stateside and the increasing stats on any number of illnesses, all add up to a national security threat. Follow the money: junk made in China, shipped across the ocean on a tanker, used for a nanosecond, and then shipped back across the ocean for disposal. Recycled? — A poisonous pittance of less than 6%. Then we wonder why we’re broke as a nation, unemployed and diseased.
Common sense tells me that tons of a toxic substance lasting 500 years is not what I want in my life. There are 19 billion plastic bags distributed in our state annually. I don’t like living in Plastic-ville. How about you?

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