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Friday, May 24, 2024

Fit the Bill: Plastic waste will choke the world if not combatted

My sadly deceased younger son Joe (died 2 January 2018) was a dedicated scuba diver. Joe, who suffered from rather bad ADHD, loved the ocean and sea life. He felt very happy in and under the water, and found peace there. He was passionate about how plastics were killing our oceans and destroying and torturing fish and other sea life.

I saw some disturbing facts last week. Most of us have seen the vast amount of plastics that wash up on our beaches. Many of us have seen the effects on fish of eating plastic bags and other rubbish. But a landmark new estimate by the CSIRO now estimates that the ocean floor is littered with up to 100 times more plastic than what is on the surface. The surface is bad enough. All five oceans in the world now have areas of huge floating masses of plastic – an aquatic garbage dump.

Below the surface, there are now between 3 and 11 million metric tonnes of the toxic stuff.

There is a mountain of evidence on the harm that plastic pollution poses to the health of humans, animals, and plants in all environments. Despite that, global plastic production still sits at 430 million tonnes a year, with 65 per cent of that used to make short-lived products that will wind up in the environment. The OECD has estimated that by 2060, the amount of plastic waste will have trebled, with less than 20 per cent recycled.

Consumers have real power to effect change. Most Australian governments are taking this challenge seriously. More needs to be done. A lot of foreign governments still aren’t interested.

I understand there is a group talking to the ACT government seeking to introduce their invention, which degrades plastic bags and other plastic items within a few weeks. They would like to see it used at our tip.

If so, that would not only revolutionise the disintegration and recycling of plastic bags, straws, etc., but if it were developed on a large scale, the ACT could export the technology to the world. Albo and Bowen are dreaming if they think Australia can be a world renewable energy superpower. But we can lead the way in helping rid the world of the plastic scourge choking us slowly to death, by adapting and developing such technology.

In the meantime, we can all do our bit. If every one of us picks up discarded plastic items wherever we see them, it all helps.

Two other things: I see reports defence minister Richard Marles is going to cut defence expenditure in the Budget. How stupid can you get? It needs to be dramatically increased if we are to defend ourselves!

I was also interested to see some other figures about how many deaths there have been in Gaza. IDF figures say it’s between 17,000 and 22,000, of whom 13,000 have been Hamas terrorists. The inflated Hamas figures quoted by our media do not differentiate between Hamas and civilians.

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