I feel surrounded by plastic. I purchased some organic natural peanut butter in glass jars and discovered a plastic band around the lid. I noticed a billboard that proclaimed “Snapple: the greatest stuff on Earth now in plastic!”
For wildlife, that plastic is among the worst things on Earth. So many modern products may be convenient for humans but are disastrous to wildlife. Since plastic does not biodegrade, but breaks down into smaller and smaller parts, many creatures mistake plastic particles for food. Sea turtles mistake plastic bags for jellyfish. Sperm whales ingest plastic bits that seem like plankton to them. Albatross chicks now receive as much plastic particles as food from their parents.
It would be appropriate to post warnings on plastic items. “I hate sea turtles” on all single use plastic bags, and “I kill whales” on all plastic water bottles.
If you think that since “I recycle,” all is well, think again. The vast majority of plastic is not recyclable. Most ends up in landfills, in our fellow creatures’ guts, or in the massive gyres of plastic swirling around our oceans.
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The single-use plastic bag emerged in 1977. My parents seemed to bring our groceries home without them easily enough. And their production consumes fossil fuels for a product we don’t need.
The Sierra Club Moshannon Group is seeking an ordinance that would curtail the use of plastic bags. Please join us to mitigate this environmental plastic plague.
Ernest Boyd, State College
The writer is chairperson of Sierra Club Moshannon Group.