Time to clean up our act

Manawatu Guardian - - NEWS - By MERA­NIA KA­RAU­RIA

It’s cli­mate change folks.

We were warned years ago that con­tin­ued fos­sil fuel use would tip the planet’s tem­per­a­tures and that ex­treme weather events would be­come more reg­u­lar.

The com­ments from those on the front line of dev­as­tat­ing floods are that they’ve never seen any­thing like it. The Arc­tic is melting — where do they think all this wa­ter is com­ing from? We know it’s not Mars.

And that brings me to plas­tic. Ku­dos to the su­per­mar­kets and Mitre 10 to step up to the plate and ditch the plas­tic. Count­down has bags for $1 that can be reused and when the bag breaks or is no longer use­able, the su­per­mar­ket of­fer is to re­turn it and they’ll give you another.

Bet­ter late than never I sup­pose. But it’s the omi­nous and deadly phe­nom­e­non that’s hap­pen­ing in our oceans. It’s plas­tic, 12 mil­lion tonnes, of it en­ter­ing our oceans ev­ery year.

Fos­sil-fuel plas­tic. Green­peace reports that new re­search shows we’ve produced plas­tic as heavy as one bil­lion ele­phants since the 1950s.

Now, I can get glassy-eyed about the ‘good old days” when milk was de­liv­ered in glass bot­tles and fruit was dis­patched in brown paper bags.

But that does noth­ing to solve the stag­ger­ing amount of plas­tic now float­ing in the world’s oceans.

Do sloth­ful lazy peo­ple think their dumped plas­tic is go­ing to be whisked up to some plas­tic heaven?

No, I pick it up when I see it ly­ing in the gut­ter be­cause I know the next stop for that plas­tic is into our awa Whanganui, and out into the Tas­man Sea, to be car­ried by ocean cur­rents.

A walk along the beach for me is to pick up plas­tic and ev­ery­thing for­eign to the marine en­vi­ron­ment.

Mi­crobeads in face washes, shower gels and tooth­paste are a men­ace. Straws, cot­ton buds, san­i­tary prod­ucts, nap­pies, cig­a­rette butts thrown from cars on to the road, dropped any­where, will even­tu­ally end up in the ocean.

We need busi­ness and cor­po­rates to re­duce the plas­tic they pro­duce, and con­sumers — that’s us — to re­ject all that pack­ag­ing.

The marine en­vi­ron­ment can’t stom­ach our trash. A pilot whale died off the coast of Thai­land af­ter swal­low­ing 80 plas­tic bags weigh­ing nearly 8kg.

The vet who car­ried out the au­topsy said it was one of the worst cases she had ever seen.

Most telling is that the bags came from sev­eral coun­tries, which points to the ocean cur­rents that swept those bags into the path of the whale. And if those 80 plas­tic bags weren’t enough, there were many more undi­gested through­out the whale’s body. It’s un­ac­cept­able and we should be out­raged that we’ve al­lowed this to hap­pen on our watch.

We can be the change we want to see hap­pen. We share this planet and it’s time we cleaned up our act and cleaned up our oceans.

Tell us your news - call 350 3589 or email mera­nia.ka­rau­ria@guardian­news.co.nz

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.