CORAL SPRINGS, FL - As anyone from Brooklyn can tell you, strange things happen there. They always did and probably always will. Remember that saying, “If you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn?” Believe it or not there was a con man who actually sold fake deeds to the bridge. He even opened an “office” on the bridge right after it was opened to the public to sell shares in it. Truth.
The issue today is plastic. The small details aren’t important. I’ll gloss over them. The normally level-headed governor of New York approved plans for a large park in a poor neighborhood. It’s fixtures and structures would be covered in plastic. From the air, the model makes the park look like Legoland. The neighborhood is in an uproar. Some are angry because the neighborhood needs a lot more than a park and way before it needs a park. Seems reasonable. The others are yelling because the park is named after a transgender activist. That complaint seems not so reasonable. But worst of all, no one seems to be complaining about the plastic, which is what they should be complaining about, as should you.
Plastic is bad stuff. It is made with natural things including carbon, which is bad stuff. The atoms of these multiple substances are bonded together into polymers. What you should know about polymers is their atoms are very heavy. That makes them bad stuff. Aside from the obvious uses, plastic is found in a stunning amount of substances like medicine and makeup. Here are a few more.
- Chewing gum
- Aluminum cans
- Glass jars with lids
-Produce stickers at the market
I could go on. On “The Plastics Make It Possible” website the first thing you see is a beautiful woman standing in front of a chalkboard with impossible chemical equations on it. Just like with car ads, when you see such a woman—be suspicious.
The amount of plastic that is disposed of annually is staggering. The average American disposes of 185 pounds of plastic a year. We make one million plastic bottles a day and we throw away 22 billion water bottles a day! Ten million tons of plastic is thrown into the ocean every year. By a six to one margin there is more plastic in the ocean than marine life. It won’t surprise you then that every species of sea turtle has plastic in its system. This all from Riddle, a UK website.
The rate at which plastic accumulates is mind-blowing as is the problem of what to do with it. If we are good people we throw our plastic jugs, water bottles, wrappings, etc. into our blue recycle bins and feel good about ourselves. Well, the Sun Sentinel tells us Broward can’t recycle paper anymore—too much of it. NPR’s Sunshine Report reported on the 17th that most of what we think is being recycled is not.
Plastic may be next. The problem is that recycling altogether is a financially losing proposition. Thus, we usually send it somewhere out of the country to another country that has lots of empty space. For them it is not a losing proposition. They bury it or throw it on top of their garbage dumps. Much of our recycling used to go to China. Unfortunately, in the Trump Trade Tiff with China, China told us what we could do with our trash so instead of the pollution going from China to here for the next while it will reverse itself.
What’s the big deal? Well, there is this, plastic kills. There is a dead zone in the ocean the size of a small state. It’s plastic. The amount of plastic we dispose of annually, which in dollars is over 11 billion, can ring the globe four times. The micro-balls that go into makeup? They are ingested by fish by the billions. Eventually, the fish die. Our rivers and streams are backed up with water bottles.
So what can be done? Coral Springs can join other cities in Florida that have recognized the problem and passed plastic restrictions on government property. City Commissioner Joy Carter explains it here.
Let me leave you with this. According to “Trash Travels” it takes a plastic bag 20 years to decompose. A plastic bottle? 450 years! Fishing line? 600 years. And here’s the kicker. Plastic never completely decomposes. That means that some remnant of every piece of plastic that was ever produced is still with us and will be for eternity.
You want something to yell about? Yell about plastic. The planet needs you to.
Read William A. Gralnick’s recent columns for TAPinto Coral Springs:
A resident of South Florida for more than 30 years, Bill Gralnick has written more than 900 op-eds and columns for newspapers around the country, including columns for the Brooklyn Eagle.
His latest book, found on Amazon.com, Kindle or paperback, is the coming-of-age memoir, “The War of the Itchy Balls and Other Tales from Brooklyn.”
His writings and a link to his book can be found on his website: williamgralnickauthor.com
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