By Shay Cullen
It’s encouraging to see active youth groups walking along beaches and river banks scooping up discarded plastic wrappings, bottles, bags, slippers and plastic junk that are causing not only unsightliness but are also a source of deadly toxic chemicals in our environment. They are cleaning up our mess when we use and discard plastic bottles and wrappings.
The laws in a few places banning plastic bags in the market places are a positive change but is it enough to solve a gigantic problem? It is hopeful that many more people are aware of the dangers of plastic but much more has to be done to undo this terrible mistake by mankind: manufacturing almost everything out of plastic. There are many alternative materials that are safe and even better at wrapping and storing and cooking food. Wise and safety and health-conscious people are returning to using stainless steel containers and glass jars. Another great alternative to plastic is food-grade platinum silicone. The main ingredient is natural sand. No chemicals are used in its manufacture and all kinds of products are made from it. We have to change away from plastic and this is a great alternative. Everyone should ask for products made from platinum silicone. They are strong and anyone can cook food, boil water, bake bread and store food in products made from silicone. Cooking utensils and products made from platinum silicone without any plastic fillers is the way to go. A plastic-free home with stainless steel and glass jars, ceramic plates and cups are for a cleaner, safer world.
This is something we can all do. There is much more to be done on a national and global scale of course. Right now, we are fighting the pandemic and if you ever got Covid-19 Delta or Omicron, you would never want it again. It is crippling and can have long-term effects on our health. But the pandemic is causing another even deadlier problem. Hundreds of millions of discarded plastic syringes and masks are now polluting and damaging our immediate environment and the planet.
This is a new hazard that is added to an already drastic situation of plastic pollution. You will see discarded plastic on the beaches, rivers and the roadside. But plastic pellets and dust blowing in the wind are unseen hazards that cause deadlier damage to the human species. The pellets are found even in fish. Even whales die from ingesting plastic junk.
The river systems of the world disgorge millions of tons of plastic into the oceans every few months. The floating plastic garbage islands, some as big as France, release plastic particles into the oceans and are absorbed by marine life and lie on the ocean floor. Plastic is forever.
Even more so the plastic in our homes. Everything has plastic and the toxic chemicals that go into making or recycling plastic end up once again in plastic wrapping, containers, in clothes, almost everything you buy has plastic.
Plastic dust has been found in remote uninhabited places of the world. It shows that discarded plastic items, packaging, bottles and cups and gadgets slowly disintegrate and release and spread tiny particles to the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink. They are carried on the wind like a toxic cloud that can slowly kill us.
Recycling is not the answer as more toxic chemicals are added to the old plastic to make more plastic. It is not the solution. Phasing out plastic is the only option. Replacing it with alternative safe materials like stainless steel glass, beeswax-coated wrapping and above all, platinum silicone, is the solution. Products made with platinum silicone are found on online shopping sites. But we as members of the public have to be motivated to change our lifestyle away from plastic and demand change from the chemical industry and government to enact laws that make it mandatory to eliminate toxic chemical additives to their products and ban imports of such toxic-loaded products.
We can be motivated by the truth, by facing the reality and having a true and righteous concern, even fear, of ill-health and sickness and death of ourselves and our friends and children. All these can motivate us. Knowing the truth will make us committed to making and demanding a safer, healthier world free of toxic chemicals.
These toxic plastic particles that are invisible are a serious health hazard as the human body has not evolved to combat them. We are defenseless against the toxic man-made chemicals in every bit of plastic. They are deadly poisons that cause suffering and death. Yet we carelessly manufacture them, use them and discard them at our own terrible cost. For all we know, they and the toxic chemicals are causing cancers, infertility, and other diseases.
You don’t have to believe only what you read here. It is based on the international research findings of world-renowned organizations like the Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) that have joined forces with the International Pellet Watch (IIPW) and environmental groups in 35 countries including the Philippines. There are over a dozen environmental protection organizations in the Philippines, all striving to protect the environment, all deserving of support. A law known as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act otherwise known as RA 9003 mandates the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. I suggest another – Replace.
By giving executive orders to all government agencies to replace plastic in offices and canteens and giving tax breaks as incentives to hotels and restaurants to remove plastics and replace them with environment-friendly products could start a revolution in eliminating plastics. The supply of plastics can be reduced by reducing demand. It is the one thing that we can all do, look for environment-friendly products.