Plastic not-so fantastic

Plastic not-so fantastic

Even if you live on a remote island in the Indonesian archipelago, it would be hard to avoid the world’s plastic problem. In fact during a recent ocean clean-up, residents of Bali were removing 100 tonnes of plastic from beaches each day – so what was in my mind the tropical idyll, turns out to be the second biggest consumer/polluter of plastic in the world, after China. Here in the UK, plastic is near the top of the environmental agenda. David Attenborough highlighted the crisis in his awe-inspiring Blue Planet II series. His most thought-provoking moment, was seeing a baby albatross lying dead, its stomach pierced by a plastic toothpick fed to it by its own mother, having mistaken it for healthy food. A small tragedy, which highlights the bigger one we have all become aware of in recent years. It takes 450 years or so to break down a plastic bottle and because we use so much of it – it is ruining our planet. Future archaeologists will be able to date this era in hundreds of years, from the sheer amount of plastic in the ground. Environment Secretary Michael Gove, who is so far proving more radically pro-environmental then anyone expected – is understood to be considering introducing refundable deposits on plastic drinks bottles, encouraging retailers to use fewer types of plastic, as well as a standardised recycling policy for councils. For example, there are two dumps close to me, one takes plastic, the other doesn’t. Like with booze, I was always aware I should cut down on my plastic consumption. But jeez, it was tricky and I have only...