News from the English Province
« An authentic humanity seems to dwell in the midst of our technological culture, …like a mist seeping gently beneath a closed door.”(Laudato Si, 112)
Before Blue Planet 2 and Sky Ocean Rescue we did not give plastics much thought. This indifference reached the pinnacle of human insanity when we examined our love affair with bottled water. Despite the growing awareness of the global environmental plastics catastrophe we have created a trend for consuming vast amounts of an expensive product we don’t need and then throwing away the container.
In the U. K. in 2017, we spent over £3 billion on 4000 million litres of water. Most of us go out clutching a bottle of water to protect ourselves against immanent dehydration! We continue to do this despite a host of warnings about our impact on the Planet and our health.
New research has confirmed that our bodies are becoming polluted with plastic. We are eating, drinking and inhaling micro plastic particles, some of which are derived from plastic bottles.
Why does this madness persist?
In 1863, the French spotted the potential of selling H20 as a natural “miracle” in a green glass
bottle, at big prices. Perrier was the drink to be seen sipping! Perrier is best known for its naturally occurring carbonation and distinctive green bottle. Since then, we’ve witnessed a liquid gold-rush! This miracle product initially marketed as boost to health, has through its association with plastic become a health hazard.
Over the last two decades bottled water has become the fastest-growing drinks market on the Planet. The global market is expected to reach £215 billion in 2020!
Here, in the U.K. we use 39 million plastic bottles every day. More than 15 million of these bottles are either burned, dumped in landfill or thrown on our streets and beaches eventually to end up in the human food chain through contaminating marine life. Ocean plastic is detrimental to marine life, yet if we replace plastic packaging with cardboard and paper this will have an impact on natural forests to supply the extra wood fiber we would need, with huge CO2 emissions, wildlife and habitat loss.
An analysis of some of the world’s most popular bottled brands revealed that over 90% contained harmful micro plastic particles, and over 90% of teenagers now have gender-bending chemicals in their bodies. We still have a long way to go before we kick this expensive, pointless and lethal habit.
It takes 450 years for a plastic bottle to degrade in landfill.
10 million barrels of oil are used each year to make water bottles in the U.K. 700,000 plastic bottles end up on our streets as litter every day. We dump 15 million bottles after just one use daily.
No more plastic is an unattainable ambition, at least for now, because to attain this we need to transition to a zero-waste society!
The Ellen MacArthur foundation, launched by yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur, says: “We know cleaning up plastics is vital but this does not stop the tide of plastic entering the oceans each year, we need to move upstream to the source of the flow.”
Her work has attracted 250 Organizations to sign up to end plastic waste at source. This initiative is backed by our Government, the UN, WWF, Universities, Financial Institutions and other campaign Groups.
We are on our way to turning the tide on plastic !
Sr Henrietta October 2018