Aug 29, 2007

Bottled Water!

"Sylvia", 8/29/07

On my recent vacation we went backpacking to the beaches of Cape Scott, the VERY northwest tip of Vancouver Island, about 20 miles from the nearest village, 50 miles from the nearest small town and hundreds of miles from a major city.

Nonetheless, as we walked along the beaches we met a constant supply of trash that had floated in, with plastic water bottles being the most common, about one every 200 yards on the beach.


j said...

We were lucky enough to be able to visit the Cook Islands. At 2k miles from NZ and 9k miles from Asia and South America, they're about as far away from the rest of humanity as you can get. We found plastic most places we went, sometimes piled thick on beaches close to a reef -- water bottles, toothbrushes, toys, shoes.

Anonymous said...

Are either of you familiar with the North Pacific Gyre?

It's a devastating and major problem that is affecting the health of our oceans, and us. Becuase plastic photo-degrades (breaks down into tiny pieces after exposure to the sun) it is a natural attractor of toxins. So, large swaths of the oceans are turning into toxic soup where there are extensive and rapidly growing blooms of algeas.

I've been trying to learn more about the issue, and to live with less plastic. But, our culture is deeply driven by an addiction to convenience and consumption. So, even if we could replace plastic with bio-degradable solutions (such as cornstarch) there would still be a tax on our environment, as long as we consumed at the rate we are now.

This is radical to say (and it's practically impossible to live by these virtues; try to buy shampoo that's not in a plastic bottle) but, i think we should outlaw the manufacturing of non-essential plastic goods anymore. (And as a laise-faire type of gal I hate to outlaw anything!) But, plastic goods outside of those that actually help to save lives, or improve the quality of life for many, should be illegal to manufacture.

But, it's not likely that would ever happen. So, there are lots of simple things that we can do to stop supporting the plastic industry. And you've probably heard them before:
1. Use cloth, or reusable bags at the grocery store.
2. Drink tap water (i recommend out of a stainless steel water bottle--plastic leeches toxins into the food source)
3. Whenever / Wherever possible buy non-plastic goods. For example, line your trash bags with something biodegradable. Becuase, most of the trash you throw away is biodegradable, but when it gets to the dump in a plastic bag...well...the plastic bag will never biodegrade, never.

With all of that said, I can't wait to see the Cook Islands. I've dreamt of going there for 2 years now.