Tuesday, February 5, 2008

GARBAGE SOUP FOR DINNER, ANYONE?

with super tuesday and the super bowl -- giants mania (ick!) gripping our attention lately, i wanted to devote a little space to my main everyday worry -- mother earth.

walking around hoboken, jersey city and nyc, i'm reminded that we haven't heard the message to conserve. lots of plastic bags, bottle and to go cups. one trip bags for a few items that are soon tossed, a coffee cup -- once consumed, littered.

barista boy sent me this super alarming article about "a 'plastic soup' of waste floating in the Pacific Ocean [that] is growing at an alarming rate and now covers an area twice the size of the continental United States, scientists have said."

the details get worse:

"The 'soup' is actually two linked areas, either side of the islands of Hawaii, known as the Western and Eastern Pacific Garbage Patches. About one-fifth of the junk – which includes everything from footballs and kayaks to Lego blocks and carrier bags – is thrown off ships or oil platforms. The rest comes from land."

scared? we should be... this soup ends up as our dinner...

"These pollutants act as chemical sponges attracting man-made chemicals such as hydrocarbons and the pesticide DDT. They then enter the food chain. 'What goes into the ocean goes into these animals and onto your dinner plate. It's that simple,' said Dr Eriksen."

but i leave you with a bright spot... the irish solution!

the new york times reported this good news last sunday:

"In 2002, Ireland passed a tax on plastic bags; customers who want them must now pay 33 cents per bag at the register. There was an advertising awareness campaign. And then something happened that was bigger than the sum of these parts.

Within weeks, plastic bag use dropped 94 percent. Within a year, nearly everyone had bought reusable cloth bags, keeping them in offices and in the backs of cars. Plastic bags were not outlawed, but carrying them became socially unacceptable — on a par with wearing a fur coat or not cleaning up after one’s dog."

and the good, green irish government news continues...

"Ireland has moved on with the tax concept, proposing similar taxes on customers for A.T.M. receipts and chewing gum. (The sidewalks of Dublin are dotted with old wads.) The gum tax has been avoided for the time being because the chewing gum giant Wrigley agreed to create a public cleanup fund as an alternative. This year, the government plans to ban conventional light bulbs, making only low-energy, long-life fluorescent bulbs available."

can a town like hoboken ever usher in change like this? i'm not so optimistic right now, seeing how cleaning up after one's dog has yet to be conquered, but i'm hopeful one day soon, it will be seriously uncool to carry plastic bags and disposable cups...

2 comments:

Kid Radical said...

This is truly shocking. Imagine the size of that thing. I just read about it on truthout too. Plastic bags are the evil that we need to banish from the planet. Starting in our own local communities is the way to go. Great post!!!!

infemity said...

wow. how disgusting. leave it to the irish! now how do we get that started here?! i'd love for hoboken to be a green town. sigh.