Zionsville Times Sentinel

Commentary

October 11, 2012

From field to oceans, plastic is everywhere

OK, I admit it … I judge fellow shoppers. Do you? Do you check them out at the check out? Do you scrutinize their food choices, toy choices, clothes choices and quietly grade them?

It’s an automatic reaction with me since I strongly support buying seasonal, local and organic foods and educational and durable toys that are not made in China. I can’t help but wonder why others don’t see the benefits of these choices. As for clothing, I enjoy the thrill of the hunt at Goodwill, and since I’m not much of a fashionista, so I don’t make any fashion calls. Nonetheless, these daily choices affect not only the buyer, but every one of us.

When I fall short of my own standards, I quietly scold myself and promise to do better next trip. However, one thing I never give myself a pass on is the use of disposable or single use plastic. Never.

Plastic is forever. Even after breaking down, it’s not “gone”— it just becomes tiny toxic chemical particles in the soil and air. In the end, animals eat them, we breathe them and they contaminate the food chain. Researchers have found chemicals from plastics in human tissue and even in the bloodstream of newborns, indicating a passage of chemicals in utero.

Single use and disposable plastics are the biggest source of plastic pollution. Plastic bags, bottles, plastic utensils, cups/lids/straws are momentary conveniences that are costing us in both human and environmental health. Water/drink bottles and plastic bags are the worst offenders, if only because there are trillions cramming and contaminating the earth.

Imagine the Zionsville Eagles’ football field blanketed with plastic bottles. (It’s OK to picture the Colts’ field here if you prefer.) Now put eight fields side by side all crammed with plastic bottles — about two million bottles according to the Plastic Pollution Coalition (www.plasticpollutioncoalition.org). That is how many plastic bottles Americans discard every five minutes. What waste and degradation.

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