So, China is no longer going to take a large percentage of our plastic waste. Can you begin to imagine the huge ships taking the waste all that way; the manpower in loading it; the fuel used to get it there; the sheer waste of resources?
I can't help myself. Each time the subject of plastic and waste comes up I find myself asking -
why does everything have to be encased in plastic these days? Plastic, large quantities of which seem to end up dumped around the countryside or
floating around in the sea, or littering our beaches? Is it really necessary? Can anyone give me a good argument in favour of plastic for every conceivable commodity?
If I go on to our market on a Friday, I can approach the Fruit and Vegetable stall and with a few exceptions (mainly soft fruit, which damages easily) everything is there piled up so that I can get a bag (yes, you've guessed it, plastic - but then we can't have everything) and fill it with pears or apples or sprouts.
If, instead, I cross the road and go into one of our stores, everything has a fancy plastic case. Four 'ready to eat' pears have a plastic container with four pear-shaped dents in it - the four pears lie there and are covered with a clear plastic lid. Apricots, hard as bullets at this time of the year, sit in a plastic container and again have a clear plastic lid. If they were piled on the floor and you drove your trolley over them they would still remain like pebbles.
Every sweet and sickly drink ever invented has its own bottle, the gaudier the better, easier to attract the eye of a passing child or a teenager. Many of these used to end up down the lane where I lived until quite recently - thrown from car windows I would guess. Once a week I would take a bag (oh yes, it would be plastic) with me on my morning walk, pick up the plastic waste and put it into our recycling bin. What is it about folk that makes them throw their plastic (and fish a chip cartons (yes, plastic or polystyrene too) ) out of the car window?
One of the problems of old age is that it is really hard not to think that some things were better in 'the old days.' Well I won't go down that avenue, but something has to be done about plastic, about recycling, about stopping the pollution of our seas, our beaches, infact every place there is to pollute.
Is there an answer? There has got to be before much of our wildlife is destroyed for ever. And surely, now that China has put its foot down, we have a good place to start taking this problem seriously. .I don't just mean governments. I mean individuals. I mean you and me. I mean every school in the country. Education. And it starts here and now.