We’ve all been guilty of buying a drink and throwing away the bottle once we’re finished, right? I’ve definitely been guilty of this, even though I know I shouldn’t, sometimes the temptation of convenience wins. But really there’s no excuse. In the UK, 33% of all plastics produced are used once and then thrown away. As part of the Green Living Project, the FXU have proposed a ban on the single use of plastic bottles on campus, but they need your say to make it happen.
As we’re all aware, the buildup of plastic waste continues to have a devastating effect on the environment, especially the sea. But it’s when you start to see the consequences of this waste that the reality really hits home. Like watching the sea gulls on the harbour struggle to walk because some plastic netting is caught around their legs. If you start looking for the damage caused by plastic waste it’s not hard to find.
Plastic is everywhere, today we rely on it; it’s what our food and drink comes in, what everything’s made out of, we live and breathe plastic. Literally; the buildup of plastic waste in landfills has resulted in plastic being dumped in the sea, and because of the slow break down process, this has lead to plastic debris floating in the sea. These ‘microplastics’ can enter marine life, including fish – you go down to Harbour Lights (or the like) and treat yourself to a fish and chips, before you know it, the plastic is inside you. So, yes we literally DO live and breathe plastic. Research also indicates that the chemical additives in plastic, some of which are endocrine disruptors, have a risk of entering the food chain. As Brown from WiredPress states, the world population is “eating fish that have eaten other fish, which have eaten toxin-saturated plastics. In essence, humans are eating their own waste.”
Disposal is engrained into our way of life, it’s even in our language, like ‘throw away’, where is away? Away is a landfill site in a poor part of the world, or it’s the ocean. As David Attenborough said, ‘there is no ‘away’ because plastic is so indestructible when you cast it in the the ocean… it does not go away’.
Penryn campus prides itself on being environmental and sustainable and is looking to take action to reduce the sale and single-use of plastic bottles. Why wouldn’t we do this? I’m genuinely struggling to see a reason. You’d still be able to get fizzy drinks in cans (fear not CocaCola addicts) and there are water fountains around campus where you’d be able to get a drink and fill up any water bottles. Yes, you might have to start remembering to bring a re-fillable water bottle to campus with you, but this is a habit that can be easily picked up, in the same way we’re starting to remember to bring shopping bags to the supermarket with us. The ban would be a small move towards reducing the amount of plastic waste produced on campus, a small act to combat a global crisis. But, what do you think? Voice your opinion by following the link below to fill out a short survey (it takes less than a minute) and check out the Facebook page ‘plastic-free Tremough’.