Editorial | Choking on plastic

Walking along the streets at night, we cannot help but see plastic bottles and cellophanes on corners where 24/7 stores are located. Usually, the bins overflow with trash, some small foils and candy wrappers strewn around the ground with no one bothering to pick them up.

Darrell Blatchley, museum director of the Bone Museum, has been relentless in educating people on the hazards of the use of plastics and the ill effects of the wanton disposal of these by households and commercial establishments. Most of the dolphins, whales and turtles that were found beached in our coastal villages die of plastic ingestion. Even birds have been found to choke and perish after mistaking plastic for food.

Plastic was invented in the late 19th century but production took off in 1950. National Geographic estimates that we now have 9.2 billion tons of plastics in our midst, with more than 6.9 billion tons of waste. The organization further said that 6.3 billion tons of waste never made it to a recycling bin. The figures were computed by scientists in 2017.

If we cross the Pakiputan Strait using an outrigger to Samal Island, floating plastics and debris carried by the tide are horrifying to see. Instead of dolphins riding on the crest of waves, we find clumps of garbage playing tag with the waves.

We should rethink how we dispose plastics, or better still how we use it.

Posted in Opinion