THE PROBLEM WITH PLASTICS
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
PLASTICS AND THE HUMAN BODY
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.http://www.belizetimes.bz/2010/08/27/the-problem-with-plastics/