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#386712 - 08/30/10 04:51 PM The problem with Plastics
Short Offline

Over the past weekend, the pristine beaches of the Placencia Peninsula were sullied by a jarring flood tide of unsightly plastic bottles and other debris that had been washed ashore in the seasonal wind phenomenon known as “Squall Season”.

The unwelcome flotsam came in ,it is believed, from the Honduran coastline and cast its long, ugly shadow on the beaches, costing the village a pretty penny to clean up. The plight described here brings into focus our excessive use of plastic containers and its damaging effects on the environment. Not only Hondurans wind up with a “plastic Problem” but Belize as well suffers and pays the price for humankind’s plastic filled lifestyle.

The issue of plastics taking thousands of years to break down is well known and hence the need to recycle them must become a national policy. Belizeans currently pay an environmental tax of which we are given no account as to how these considerable sums are used to deal with the plastics Problem. We might not be able to tell the wind not to impact the currents in such a way that it brings in Honduran plastics and debris. But we can begin to address our our utilization and disposal policies for plastics and the environment


A recent analysis of a US nutrition survey by the Peninsula Medical School discovered that high levels of the chemical BISPHENOL – A (BPA) used to stiffen plastic bottles and line cans were found in urine samples of 93 percent of Americans over age 6 years . This chemical BPA has been linked to heart disease and confirmed analysis has shown it to play a role in diabetes and some types of liver disease. BPA is used in the production of polycarbonate plastics such as food and drink packaging and even compact discs. It is also found in epoxy resins used as lacquer to coat metal products such as food cans, bottle caps, water pipes and may even be found in some types of dental sealants.

Just last Friday, August 20th, Canada’s Minster of the Environment announced that the government was ready to “publish instruments for the preventive control action of BPA” after their own data from the 2007-2009 Canadian Health Measures Survey determined that 91 percent of the Canadian population had alarming levels of BPA in their urine. Canada began investigating the deleterious health effects of plastics on humans in 2008 when it banned the use of polycarbonate “plastic” baby bottles and began investigations by the national agency which has led to this legislation that will ban the use of BPA and place it on its list of toxic substances.

So what can we do here? We can buy food and beverages that come in glass bottles when we have a choice. Thereafter we can began to lobby for importers and local producers to limit the use of plastic containers for the foods they sell us. Then we can do our part as individuals and/or a family to recycle and get these dangerous plastics out of our environment. And considering the bounty of our land and sea, maybe we can resolve to just go for “fresh ‘n natural” as often as possible and keep our farmers in business and the put the oncologists on hold.

Live and let live

#386713 - 08/30/10 05:41 PM Re: The problem with Plastics [Re: Short]
Mike Campbell Offline
The plastics that wash up on our beaches come from various locations including Honduras and Jamaica. The cost is very high both in cleaning the beaches and lost tourism because of the plastic on the beaches. This problem seems to be growing rapidly. I advocate international treaties where each country must mark their plastic containers and be financially responsible for picking them up when they "stray" to another country's beaches. That maybe the only effective way to make the various nations police their trash which many times is dumped straight into the oceans. Not an easy task but something must be down to make countries responsible for their polluting of the international waterways and beaches of other countries.

#386715 - 08/30/10 06:11 PM Re: The problem with Plastics [Re: Short]
Katie Valk Offline
Most of the garbage comes from Honduras and Guatemala after heavy rains flush gargage from the rivers to the sea. However, the last few rivers of garbage that washed up on our shores were mainly small pieces of cut plastics, probably from a waste or hauling company hired to put the garbage in a landfill or for recycling, but dumped in the sea instead. This is an intl problem and there are miles and miles of garbage floating in our coeans arond the world.
Belize based travel specialist

#386721 - 08/30/10 10:12 PM Re: The problem with Plastics [Re: Katie Valk]
Mike Campbell Offline
I try to identify what I pick up and as you say Guatemala and Honduras and I was surprised to see trash from as far away a Jamaica. Plastic containers and bottles with labels. Much more quantity in just the last few years, fortunately not much seems to come from Belize.

#386744 - 08/31/10 01:45 PM Re: The problem with Plastics [Re: Short]
ScubaLdy Offline
Maybe we could figure out a way to benefit from this problem? I am amazed at how much stuff is now being made from recycled plastic; rugs, carpets, pillows, etc. There has to be a wealthy entrepreneur someplace who is enlightened enough to come to us, set up a collection and processing plant and make something positive out of our trash.

This would accomplish a number of things; give the trash enough value to be collected, create some factory worker jobs, and actually produce something that could be sold.

Let’s find that someone!
Take only pictures leave only bubbles

#386748 - 08/31/10 02:34 PM Re: The problem with Plastics [Re: Short]
Keller Offline
Boat docks from recyled plastic lumber would be great and an easy market in Belize...but I suspect you would have to import a lot of plastic scrap to make it work.

#386754 - 08/31/10 03:10 PM Re: The problem with Plastics [Re: Short]
elbert Offline
On Utila I saw a plastic recycling plant.It was a small building on a tiny lot. It compressed into blocks the islands plastic and seemed like a simple operation. Used hydraulics powered by electricity.
The island was very clean and had plastic collection bins around on the streets.
The Island sells it to an industry on mainland Honduras.
Seems like it was working. I didn't see any garbage on their beaches at all. A barge came monthly and picked up the blocks on pallets.
The Dive Shops Daily Blog

#386767 - 08/31/10 04:33 PM Re: The problem with Plastics [Re: Short]
elbert Offline
The Dive Shops Daily Blog

#386768 - 08/31/10 04:36 PM Re: The problem with Plastics [Re: Short]
elbert Offline
Utila Realty If you drop me a line on email I can send you contacts of a person that knows the details. bradryon@gmail.com
The Dive Shops Daily Blog

#386769 - 08/31/10 04:39 PM Re: The problem with Plastics [Re: elbert]
Mike Campbell Offline
First and obvious step is to start a recycling program. That will separate our wastes. Barry had a plastic grinder that we could use right now. Do you know what processing happens after the Utila plastic is taken to mainland?

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