Tom Noori is the owner at Door 4 Montpellier and has become not only interested by extremely concerned by the plastic situation. Here's his guest blog telling us some of the cold hard facts...
Coastlines have been inundated with support and funding and now the attention is fast moving towards inland communities.
The waste that goes into rivers goes outward and believe it or not that single plastic bottle you’ve seen in a stream really does amount to billions of similar items that eventually end up further out towards our coastlines.
Have we gone too far?
We've done a significant amount of damage already to the eco system and to our own health; that is a fact. If we go for a trickle-down system and stop single use plastics being sold, we can then focus on the plastics we can’t recycle and what to do with those. They’re just sitting there and will be until something is done. Currently only 32% of recycling you throw away gets recycled. The rest goes to landfill because it’s contaminated or can’t be recycled at all.
It takes decades to change people’s habits and get them to choose a less convenient more costly way of living, just to save the planet. The best fight against plastic is making the government, importers, distributors and wholesalers stand and fight against it. Then the economy will change and the cost of eco friendly materials can go down as demand rises.
Can it be done?
YES. France has already passed a bill that by 2020 they will ban the sale and manufacture of single use plastics. You won’t be able to buy a plastic straw or fork when you sit in the gardens near the Eiffel Tower, you will HAVE to buy compostable or wooden materials. Once this is in effect, the next step will be to ensure the companies producing wooden/paper alternatives plant two trees for every one that is chopped down. One step at a time, though. The people of Taiwan, once famous for plastics, have changed the whole country’s mindset and managed to get the government to do the same. By 2030 it will be against the law for any business to sell single use plastics, and trust me, no one wants to end up in a Taiwanese prison!
What can I do?
Try to go to your local market and your local shop. You can support independent businesses and look after your health and the planet at the same time. Why would you want to buy fruit that comes unnecessarily in plastic and coated in wax and chemicals from supermarkets, just so it looks nice? Then you discard the plastic in your waste bin and have your children or partner ingest the wax and chemicals. It’s so difficult to get even 1000 people to remember their Bags for Life, or to carry their empty water bottles around and refill them. We need to be realistic in our expectations of others and we need to put pressure on the government to care, because currently we’re one of the worst countries in Europe at public recycling. Keep doing the best you can within yourself. Look up your local Plastic Free group and join. Type it into Facebook and there will be one, I can guarantee it. Sign a petition and if you want to be involved - it's so rewarding. In my local park we discovered that the lake is so polluted it’s not safe for your dog to swim in. People went crazy and now money is being poured in to getting something done about it.
Worst case scenario in our lifetime - what is it?
I get asked this a lot. For me, Microplastics are now the scariest thing for our future and our children’s. Sea life is going to be the hardest affected. 90% of all sea birds have ingested plastic in their lifecycle. 83% of Dublin Bay prawns (the tails of which are used in scampi) have ingested plastic. Currently 50 species of fish worldwide have been tested and found to ingest plastic; any toxins within the plastic they ingest cause reduced effectiveness at schooling and failed livers. The rest of the facts aren’t even in about fish, probably because of what it might do to the industry. I’m going to be the first to tell you, from what I’ve been told by marine conservationists, it may be that two thirds of fish species have ingested plastic in some form and we are consuming it. It bioaccumulates in their tissue and can further bioaccumulate in ours. In the 80s and 90s it was a huge thing to encourage Omega 3 to children - eating fish makes you smarter, right? At this rate, we will have to get our children to swallow an Omega 3 pill and avoid eating fish altogether, because WE weren’t smart. It will cripple the industry and fish farming in a controlled environment will be a norm.
Visit Facebook group: PLASTIC FREE CHELTENHAM.