Wednesday, May 28, 2008

War On Plastic -- Part 2

There is no need for a degree in engineering, or chemistry to locate several hundred pounds of plastic within our community. Go to your garbage dump and see what is the main item that is being disposed.

Then go walk around your own home. Evidence of plastic pollution are in our storage closets, dumped in the garage, or in refuse bins. Go around your neighborhood, and you will see litter on roadways, in rivers, at the park, in the woodland, or on the beach. The litter will always contain plastics of some form. We can’t avoid it, not in our homes, churches, schools, offices, public recreation areas. Some will insist plastic is a necessary evil. Some say it’s the best invention of mankind. Yet even a simple survey of the items that constitute the worst pollution will list a variety of objects, all of which will contain some sort of plastic component.

Please watch this video and take note that everyone is at risk from this insidious material we know to be plastic.

Modern man prefers to take the easy way to attain the basic needs for food, water, shelter, clothing, transportation , communications and entertainment. The quest for more knowledge has been replaced with the mindless acceptance of the claims of advertisers that their product is what we need! Plastic was initially promoted with direct selling techniques where housewives could hold an afternoon gathering of family and friends for a particular brand of containers made from plastic. The party to be hosted by one of its agents who would demonstrate how convenient it would be if every household could have an array of these items for all their needs from non breakable glassware, to lazy susan turntables and as time went on, the demand for plastic containers grew to this stage where we can't do without them.

Plastic was invented to make things easier for mankind! Plastic substituted for natural things, and that was fine in the beginning when people didn't really know what these substances were. Plastics seem to have a life of their own, a glob of fossil fuels that produced a "skin" of such resilience it could stretch, and bend, and be poured into molds and imitate everything man used to identify as wood, or glass, or even metal. Plastic was a sort of antidote to nature...something that could defy nature in fact, because after awhile, everything from our materials for making shelter, and the containers storing and delivering to us our water and food were made of plastic.

Now man is far more advanced in technology than our ancestors were, but it also made man greedy for money. Rich people can afford to buy things made from natural substances. Poor people can't afford to buy real wooden tables, so they buy plastic ones with matching plastic mono block chairs.

We are now in an ironic situation where one nation gives up their natural resources in exchange for another country who produces artificial items for buyers to substitute for their natural resources. Americans dependent on other nations, like China for mass production of plastic items that the American consumers need, or they think they need. Americans are no longer making items from natural materials they can produce for them to live independent lives in their own country.

The plastic industry has gone global. The impact of a huge population of buyers willing to pay anything from 1 US Cent for a plastic bag , to $65.00 for a new cell phone or $130 for a barrel of crude oil provides staggering sums in profits in the billions of dollars. This greed for profits have pushed mankind into a global crisis far beyond the reach of modern technology to reverse, and can only be partially solved by shutting down every single plastic manufacturing plant in existence, and the world immediately stopping the burning of fossil fuels.

The population of mankind is going to reach about 12 Billion people by the next century. In the Philippines alone, the population has grown from 33 million people to 85 million in a span of only 35 years. In recent disasters occurring in areas once isolated or underpopulated, there are earthquakes and tsunami’s that can wipe out entire coastlines, and affect a minimum 1,000,000 people per disaster.

The current oil crisis prioritizes that man needs energy primarily for heat in areas of severe winter, and transportation and the industrial production of goods. Man has pulled from the earth a source of fuel in the concentrated fossil remains of millions of years of decomposed forests and animal life that existed from the beginning of time before man even knew what crude oil was for. There was little demand for crude oil when millions of kilometers of woodland was available for burning wood for fuel, and timber was abundant to use as construction materials.

Civilization improved as more convenient sources of energy were made available. Only in the last century, was fossil fuel so rampantly exploited and the by products of oil were made into synthetic materials and polymers. Producing a product called plastic was the ultimate invention by man to create a duplicate of any organic substance or material. The worse thing was, for every plastic item, more energy is needed to recycle these, and the by product of plastic production is global pollution

Global pollution from discarded plastic materials comes from garbage that has been transported by nature into the waterways, and into the ocean, where it is quickly disintegrating into the most hazardous form of environmental pollution capable of extinguishing all life on the planet within a few more years.

The sad thing is, as there is global annihilation of all animal life, eventually, the world will still have the remnants of plastic materials in its soil, and in the water.


The problem of waste generation and industrial pollution, once a local or at best a regional concern has now turned international waters into a huge washing machine with millions of tons of plastic debris floating about. In terms of impact it is no longer merely a question of pollution causing people to get sick, or children to be born from birth defects. Of course people are much weaker from inhaling urban smog, and we face famine and economic ruin if our climate changes to the point that our fresh water evaporates and turns our fertile fields into deserts.

The subtle killer that will eventually emerge as the single most destructive factor that would be responsible for killing off our food sources in the ocean, and on land will be man made plastics! We are entering stage where our need for food, water and basic energy will not be met due to the mismanagement of our environment. Fish will die and the wildlife that depend on it for food will follow, then mankind living on the ocean's produce will follow suit.

If man pollutes the ocean, and the air from all the chemicals and the earth is contaminated with toxic refuse, what would be left to plants?

Human activity is beginning to threaten the very fabric of the biosphere. The global ecosystem is already showing signs of being compromised by radiative forcing from greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, acidification of water resources, and loss of biodiversity. This is the first time in the history of the planet that human activity has resulted in such intense and perhaps irreparable damage to the environment that gives us our food, clothing, shelter and the most important to all life, clean, fresh drinking WATER.

Surprisingly, the amount of attention paid to this global threat to our oceans and to our fresh water sources in lakes and river system is secondary to our need for the convenience of having something that is believed to be strong, durable, and long lasting, yet the one substance that man has made that is causing our planet to enter into a phase of total deterioration is the substance called PLASTIC!

There is little or no amount of attention to solve this global threat from plastic pollution. This issue has been quite neglected but it has the most potential impact on the environment along with its source, petroleum, that is a fossil fuel that is causing our earth to enter a stage of warm climate which is affecting all nations.

A few discuss this problem specifically. Certain industries have brought about some attention by instigating recyling of plastics. One man's garbage and another man's treasure was a slogan that best suited the recyclers. Indeed there was both a blessing to be environmentally friendly, and a business opportunity to make a lot of profit in the form of recycling plastic from whatever it was in the garbage heaps into something else.

A few politicians will take a few sentences in their speech to underscore a need to be more environmentally conscious. They fear by specifying the cause, which is plastic pollution they may touch on businesses that deal with plastic manufacturing. This is the main cause..the manufacturing of trillions of tons of plastic products, be these first hand or Level 1 types, or the poisonous Level 7 recyled items that inspite of these being hazardous to health, are made into promotional items given away or sold at a low price as part of a purchase of some other product. These Level 7 items seem innocent, such as food containers, sports water bottles, backpacks, and canteens for children and teens to drink from. Plastic campaign buttons and visors, little plastic fans and giveaway items are part of the promotional items given to their followers. A lot of politicians have included their give-away budget as part of their election expenses.

America will need a leader that would be brave enough to include into his or her agenda that the government can save money by doing away with the purchases of disposable plastic bags, bottled water, pens, coffee cups, stirrers, straws used in government offices and all plastic paraphranelia will be eliminated.

The world would need a leader to ban all plastics. Maybe even follow suit of insisting if recycling is the solution, that every mayor, governor, senator and congressman show proof that the garbage produced in one community is directly gathered and recycled within that community! They must show how , when and how much it will cost...then make sure their citizenry pay more in taxes if they can't do it.

Does the President of the U.N. talk about plastic pollution and the need for the international community to ban it as a primary environmental hazard that spans all hemispheres?

There are no international laws that would penalize countries for the seepage of their plastic pollution into the international waters of the oceans. Yet all the international waters are good for is fishing rights open to all nations. These fishing rights are for access to a source of food, but if this source of food is endangered by plastic pollution coming from the garbage of the very nations that depend on it for food, then doesn’t it merit attention of the international community?

Enough studies have been made to confirm that there is a “plastic soup kitchen” out in the oceans of the world, with churning bits of plastic debris already on the microscopic level that is being ingested by fish, wildlife and is affecting fish farms that need the ebb and tide of salt water and fresh water from the ocean to sustain their industries. Now all the chemicals and bits of plastic are in the food chain, and plastics are showing up in the blood of infants and humans from countries dependent on fish as a source of food.

The United States has a national commitment to lower fossil fuel emissions, and to solve global warming, yet the amount of demand for timber, oil, chemicals , even plastics far surpasses all the other countries put together! The U.S.A. is the primary consumer of goods and services. The next is China, and the rest of Asia, then Europe , and fourth is Africa.


My Primary objectives are the following:

  • to show how plastic is the major contributor to ocean pollution. The objective of my blog is to give this issue attention because I realize the extent of this problem has on the following generation who will be tasked with cleaning it all up.

  • to show the extent of which the production and use of plastic has affected the lives of ordinary people who are probably not aware, nor are they able to understand why this is so dangerous to their lives.

  • to convince people that ordinary people can also do something to help stop global pollution from plastic not by donating money to any organization involved in the "green movement" but by being wise consumers who can stop plastic pollution by refusing to buy plastic in any form.

  • to deal with the needs of ordinary people for organic produce by growing their own food, or recyling organic materials like wood, stainless steel metal, glass, aluminum in their homes and community for reuse.

  • to tackle the plastic pollution in their homes by not throwing these away, but keep whatever plastic they do have and using these items for other things other than containers for food, water and products that will contaminate the earth, sky or water.


The plastic industry is a trillion dollar industry. The growth in chemical companies and plastic manufacturing industries grows at about 20% per annum and imagine if every man, woman and child will use at least 3 plastic water bottles a day, and 15 articles of plastic bags a week, at a cost of about 1/10 of a U.S.D. cent, 135 trillions tons will earn for these industries around 475 billion dollars a year! Imagine who would stop producing this poison if people want it? Its going to be hard for politicians to resist getting their campaign funds from thi industry, not to mention the amount of chemical companies and oil conglomerates. These companies produce pollution and make limited “greenwashing” efforts to hide their menacing intent to fool the public to believe they are trying to solve the problem they made.

Presently, the use of plastic is mainly in consumer goods. This can be averted if the public will demand less or no plastics when it is used to wrap, and contain food, baby and skin beauty products. The concern for human health may be the way to get mainstream plastic packaging to revert back to paper, aluminum, stainless steel, glass, ceramic, and porcelain containers.

In construction, and electrical run appliances, plastics are used and are cost comeptiative with traditional materials that are popular with buildgers because of their low cost. However, once the public becomes aware that plastic is also very brittle and not as indescructable as once perceived, the demand will go back to traditional materials. A PVC spout for drainage will not last as long as aluminum, and cast iron for sewage will outlast and outlive plastic PVC and not be harmful to the environment.

In an international toy convention held in Hong Kong, the plastic industry grows like a parasite on a booming economy of the U.S. and other Western societies that indulges their children and teen agers by giving them the latest toys,gadgets, cell phones, school accessories, even trendy food items like snack foods with the images of their popular pop idols or cartoon characters on the plastic wrappers .

The estimated production of plastics in the year 2000, was approximately 135 million tons, with North American capacity accounting for about 1/3 of this amount. Affluent countries such as Japan or in western Europe, plastic consumption can be as low as 300lb/ measured in terms of output of plastic garbage each person can dump in a year as opposed to about than 100 lbs per person in a year in the poorer countries.

The future shows the volume of plastic debris is increasing to about 10% of 1 gallon of sea water being studied by Moore ( see video reference) and in the same proportion an increase in volume of manufacturing of plastic.

Laborers are used from developing countries with less education than the more affluent countries that use the products made of polymer. This is due to the fact that in less developing countries with a lot of poor people willing to work in factories that have hazardous wastes and pollution that affects their health. Poor people are viewed by these plastic industries as “expendable” and that attitude is also carried to how they think of the consumers health. The leaders of underdeveloped countries will even bid to have these chemical plants located in rural areas where the run off from their poisonous substances can free flow into streams and then be carried out to the seas and oceans. Indeed the diabolical intent would be counter productive when fishes that spawn in rivers and estuaries are poisoned, and poor people will eventually add to their misery when crops fail and fish catch becomes sparse.

In 1993, the number of injection –molding machines manufactured in Asia exceeded that manufactured in the U.S.A.. Asians are producing and supplying U.S.A. and other Western countries with these products and hazardous chemicals used to make these products are being exported back to Asian countries an ingredients for more plastic production. It seems that Western countries with large labor unions would object to exposing workers to such hazardous conditions, but if these conditions are dangerous, why do Asian underdeveloped countries rejoice at getting contracts for these ?

How to combat big business? Don’t buy their products. The impressive record of plastic consumption is in the marketplace and this is compelling evidence that the ordinary person can do something about this menace. A large amount of consumers belong to the class of materialistic society that follows trends in Western countries. The novel use of plastics from containers of food, to blow dryers, or hair curlers, cosmetic cases, beauty products and small appliances for the home like vacuum cleaners, blow dryers, and are marketed to appeal to the females. Advertisers target men like the convenience of plastics for tools, car interiors, gadgets and handy appliances for the home and car. Even children are given the opportunity to be exposed to plastic toothbrushes with cartoon characters , toys cleverly advertised,. Children demand to buy products where free toys are given as promotions to stimulate their mothers to select those products over others.

Are we humans that stupid? Wildlife cannot understand the difference between plastic and organic. If they understood, they would not be caught eating a pc of plastic instead of their natural food. Why then are humans accepting the substitution of organic materials for synthetic ones? Marketing is to blame. We can market anything in the media provided there are consumers who will believe what they read, hear or see…in fact, a seabird sees a pc of colored red plastic like a small round plastic cap from a cosmetic container and thinks it is a little crab, then they even swallow it to carry it miles to feed this same poisonous substance to their chicks, who will later die from ingesting the plastic. Aren’t mothers also duped to believe the plastic cups they buy to put infant drinks, and the plastic bottles containing their children’s juice will not eventually harm their child?

We can’t convince the wildlife that plastics are synthetic. The majority of apathetic people will view the extinction of many species with a yawn. However once our children start getting sick from lethal bacteria in tiny bits of plastic that they may ingest, or acting strangely from lead poisoning in our food, and water, and their toys, the mothers will begin to demand that plastic if proven to be the cultprit be stripped from stores.

We can overcome this plastic pollution by demanding organic products. We also must demand these organic products not be contained in plastic. Buying local produce and local ethnic items like woven baskets, and canvass bags, or rubber shoes from organic farms or cotton garments, will make a difference almost immediately.