We should be moving towards recycling

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

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Dear Editor,

Growing up, there was hardly any plastic. Supermarkets and stores would mostly sell products in paper bags. Beverages were largely sold in glass bottles or cans. Even milk was sold in bottles.

I've been reading the series of news articles on plastic in the Jamaica Observer, commemorating World Environment Day and Ocean Day this week, and it made me pause to think about the tremendous damage we've been doing to the environment — land, sea, and air — especially in recent times.

I can't recall even as a teenager hearing about cancers, it certainly wasn't as prevalent as it is today.

I am convinced the toxicities added to the environment, the pollution, toxic chemicals, plastics, and their by-products, the fumes and gases, must be wrecking havoc on our health. Collectively and individually we ought to be more responsible.

Corporations, especially, need to be more environmentally conscious. Individuals can do more to cut back on use of plastics which harm the environment. Plastic is a huge problem in the oceans, with millions of tonnes of plastics said to be ending up in our oceans each year. Considering only nine per cent of plastic waste is reportedly recycled; the impact is severe and will become catastrophic. Plastics also take hundreds of years to break down and the particles from degradation are still harmful. Plastics also include chemicals such as colorants, agents, plasticisers, antioxidants, and flame retardants. Imagine the effects of massive amounts of plastic waste building up around us.

We should be doing lots more to improve how products are packaged, used and disposed of. We should be moving towards recycling and using biodegradable packaging, with less emphasis on plastics. It is critical for us in the Caribbean to start being more responsible and take better care of our environment.

P Chin

chin_p@yahoo.com

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