Updated: Apr 13
It’s hard to imagine a deserted tropical island paradise, when you’re sat at Lingfield station in the cold waiting for the 07.14 train to London Victoria (I know, I've tried it a lot). Whilst you might be dreaming of your next vacation to Bali, you’re probably not thinking of Bali, or the other tropical paradises or the ocean when you toss out your Iced Frap container from Starbucks. Apart from being inherently lazy, this is actually dismissing the power of the planet, and it’s ability to take your Frap container on a 1000 year journey around the planet. It’s easy to disconnect our plastic in England, to the images we see on Facebook and instagram of the garbage soup in the ocean.
But it’s high time we think of our plastics globally. The planet moves things. We are in a constant state of cycling. No, not on a bicycle, but Mother Nature is reycling her earth, her energy and circulating the oceans and the atmosphere. It is the ocean currents that allow us to receive relatively warm weather in England. It’s what ensures nutrients flow between deep ocean to the surface and give us food, it’s what circulates your compost back into next years carrots.
Streams and rivers feed into the ocean. Landfill can feed into the ocean. In the ocean, the plastic with a near eternal life time, will float about. Did you hear about the plastic bath duckies that escaped from a container ship, and made their way across the planet? Cool right? Cool that our planet can throw things about, not so much the plastic in it. Whilst cleaning up a beach in Malaysia, I found a plastic Mexican Peso dated 1984.
Lingfield station is connected to the ocean, to the marine life in it. Your plastic pollution, that is going in your bin, your recycling or even that rubbish you leave on the platform- has the potential to add to the Bali plastic videos. We have to connect it, take responsibility for our part in the plastic problem. Many of the countries struggling under the pressure of plastic, do not have the "rubbish" disposal that we have. So they have to look at, see, sit on their rubbish. We send our non recyclable rubbish away, so we are granted the power not to be reminded, or see our crap. Doesn't mean we're not contributing to the plastic problem globally.
There is gaining pressure of consumers and industry to reduce plastic use. Especially in Western countries. Is this right? China, The Philippines and other Asian countries contribute the most plastic, right? The short answer, YES. The blame game is a shitty game to play (as well as unproductive and immoral) Western countries with access to clean drinking water, sanitary conditions, ability to safely store food and buy whatever they want from the super-shop down the road, also have a huge responsibility to reduce plastic. Sure, there is just as much responsibility on the HUGE producers, but we must take up our share of the problem too. We are all making plastic problems, and we cannot simply blame others- but instead to ration out the blame.
Next time you’re in the supermarket, or you’re getting takeaway, or eating your crisps at your local train station before work, think about our planet, and where your plastic will end up- and what marine creature it could impact. Life isn't perfect, and I don't expect you to be either. But we all have a role to play in Plastic. Whether you opt out of water bottles, and save yourself a heap of money, or write to your favourite company and ask them to sell their products out in recyclable packaging. Do something, take some responsibility. Pick up three things next time you are walking your dog. Those teeny tiny little acts make a huge impact- and an impact you will be proud of yourself for doing.