St Mary's Eco Church Blog

22 April 2024: World Earth Day

Derek writes

Break free from plastic

Few people can be totally unaware of the harm done to the environment by plastic but most probably do not realise either the extent of the problem or what we can do about it. How To Give Up Plastic by Will McCallum is a real eye-opener as just a few numbers will show.

It is only 111 years since plastic was invented and only 53 years since the first plastic bag was made yet 12.7 million tons of plastic enter the ocean every year and 120 billion plastic bottles are made by Coca-Cola every year.  It takes 450 years for a plastic bottle to break down in the ocean. 90% of seabirds have plastic in their stomachs.

The problem may seem overwhelming but governments, big companies and supermarkets can make a huge difference if the incentive is big enough. So one of the things we can do is write to our MP, a councillor, the mayor or the press. We can tell shopkeepers, leave a note for the manager of a supermarket and spread the word to our friends and colleagues.

We can also make changes in our own lives by refusing plastic where possible - no plastic bags, bottles, cutlery, straws etc. We can buy bars of soap and wooden toothbrushes. We can reuse items that cannot be refused and recycle everything else if possible.

If the will is there a difference can be made: over 2 million people in 150 countries have made a ‘Plastic Free July’ pledge as a start. Many countries or regions, including Bangladesh and Morocco, have banned single use plastic bags. Surely we can!

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