Working for justice & peace
Action Card - August
Provided by Sue Ingham NJPN
Reducing plastic use
Since the final episode of Blue Planet II, we have all become aware of the damage being
done to our oceans and its inhabitants by plastic pollution. From the disturbing footage
of albatross chicks being fed plastic, turtles deformed by becoming stuck in 6-pack
plastic rings and dolphins exposing their new-born calves to pollutants through their
contaminated milk it is clear that the widespread use of plastic cannot continue. The
statistics are shocking: David Attenborough quotes a figure of 8 million tonnes of plastic
dumped into the sea every year.
However, itís not just the oceans that are affected. A recent study has shown that tap
water is also polluted in the form of microfibers, in 83% of tap water samples from major
cities around the world and in 93% of samples from the worldís top 11 bottled water
The microplastics in the oceans and our drinking water are produced by the erosion and
breakdown of larger plastic items or are present in some manufactured products such as
cosmetics or toothpaste as microbeads (now banned in the UK). These fibres and
fragments may be consumed in the water we drink or in seafood that we eat. What long
term impact this has on our own health or that of other creatures (from plankton to
whales to sea birds) is unknown.
Itís clear that drastic action is needed to stop this flood of indestructible pollution. We
can take steps to reduce our individual single-use plastic consumption but it is up to
businesses and governments to make large scale changes. Recently we have seen that
these can be effective: 9 billion fewer plastic carrier bags used in the UK since the
introduction of the 5p charge; and the ban on microbeads which came into force in the
UK earlier this year. Public pressure has a huge part to play in introducing these changes.
In the light of Pope Francisí encyclical on the environment, Laudato Sií, (159) Christian
groups should be at the forefront of those who are trying to protect our world from
becoming a plastic rubbish dump.
Here are just a few ideas to get you started
∑ Use a reusable water bottle and coffee mug.
∑ Carry a reusable shopping bag.
∑ Remember to say no to plastic straws and cutlery.
∑ Look for clothes made of natural fibres.
∑ Make your own packed lunches.
∑ Participate in beach clean-ups.
∑ Find out about plastic pollution.
∑ Join an organisation working on the issue.
For more ideas and information go to http://www.plasticisrubbish.com/