Sunday June 15 2014

No choking on plastics

A friend of mine sent me a picture of an item she bought from a supermarket, it was wrapped in its original packing which was plastic and being a bit of a delicate item, the cashier put it in another plastic bag and added it to other supplies in a third plastic bag.

My friend brought out her reusable shopping bag, returned the third bag to the cashier and placed all her shopping in that bag. Frustrated, she asked me to write ‘again’ about plastic, and recycling and that one day, we will all choke on this mammoth amount of plastic flying around us.

I remembered a journey we were making by land from Kuwait to Saudi Arabia. As soon as we crossed the Kuwaiti border and drove along the vast Saudi desert. Plastic bags and bottles littered both sides of the highway, a scene that was hurting the eyes, and bothering the mind.

On the same road, we saw camels and goats grazing on any green patch they would find, which of course was laden with plastic. I need not to mention the consequences of animals feeding on plastic and what exactly happens to their poor stomachs.

Plastic pollution
Of course, this is not a unique case, in many countries, including Uganda, we see how plastic bags and bottles are wrapped in the red fertile soil that is supposed to be cultivated. And if we know that plastic is almost non-biodegradable, we conclude that at this rate, we will all suffer.

Plants will not grow, animals will choke and whether we are vegetarian or not, we shall find nothing to eat. And in case you are thinking ‘sea’, the news is not so good on that part too. A relative who is a very active Marine biologist was explaining to us that marine life is in real danger because of many factors, with the most prominent being plastic containers that find their way into the water.

Recycle it
One of the suburbs in Egypt that is in the heart of Cairo, seems to have found a solution for garbage. These residents have made it their job to collect garbage from all the other suburbs and recycle it.

Of course, their concern is not the environment, rather making a living out of every trash, turning it into cash. Even food stuff is recycled here as this is fed to pigs. You might be surprised at how in the heart of a Muslim country there are pig farms. But when you know these residents are Egyptian Christians –who can eat pork-then the question is answered.

For whatever reason this is done, it is a great solution in cities that authorities give minimum attention to such important issues.