So the year is 2018 as of this writing and we have this anti-straw campaign thing, I think this started when there’s a video of a sea turtle with a straw on its nose and the outcry of nature and animal lovers sparked.. so they started a movement and now it’s a bandwagon.
It’s the same logic as your plan to diet, its good at the first 3 months but after that, you are back again.
Why I say bandwagon? people are joining because it’s a hype or a trend in social media but they don’t really have that 100% heart to care nature and future generation. I don’t have any problem with it, yes it’s good at least.. it starts in little ways but the global warming and environmental degradation effect can already be felt and we need to act fast. The change of lifestyle and adapting this movement should be from the heart because if it’s not then it will just fade out and we will just come back to what is convenient and what we are used to. It’s the same logic as your plan to diet, its good at the first 3 months but after that, you are back again.
The campaign should not just about plastic straw but all one time use plastic containers.
Why do we have to have this campaign?
Starbucks and the government of Cebu join the anti-straw bandwagon through a campaign. Again, I don’t have any problem with it, I will gladly comply however on the other side I’m wondering why do we have to have this campaign? If the government is serious about this in preserving nature and mitigating from the natural disaster and effects of climate change why don’t they just close those plastic companies producing one time use plastic containers and force them to think of another way?
Obviously, it’s business and money and some of them are friends with the politicians but if they are really thinking the next generation or even the current population I think it’s logical, forward-thinking, and long-term to completely remove those manufacturers. Because whether you’ll stop using a straw the manufacturers will still create and these excess unused straws will just add to the current problem (besides, it’s not about the straw).
Think the logical and long-term! Why don’t the government fund or support Filipino scientists who have better, nature-friendly and long lasting product design, or if we don’t have that talent maybe we can outsource that from neighboring country. There’s this plastic made of cassava starch invented by an Indonesian, Kevin Kumala.
The material is biodegradable and compostable, breaking down over a period of months on land or at sea. However, it dissolves instantly in hot water. The inventor claims it leaves no trace of toxic residue, which he demonstrates by drinking the dissolved plastic. – materialdistrict.com
Plastic bags are useful but we have to managed it very well because it affects so much to mother Earth, according to United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) data from the 2015 study “Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean” shows that the Philippines wastes 6,237,653 kg (6875.84 tons) of plastic per day, of which 81% is mismanaged. (source: GMA NewsOnline)
Paper bag: is it really the solution or it just creates another problem?
In Mandaue City, Cebu the Ordinance No. 12-2010-562 otherwise known as the Plastic Bag Prohibition Ordinance of 2010 was approved, thus malls, department stores, and grocery stores are not allowed to use plastic bags but rather paper bags or other earth-friendly alternatives. This ordinance is a good move however because the stores are forced to contract paper bag manufacturers to supply them this is where another problem starts which will still affect the environment. Manufacturing paper bags consumes a lot of energy and resources such as water, it also emits air pollution 70% more pollution than the production of plastic bags (unless the production uses the old technique which is likely impossible) and 50 times more water pollutant than plastic.
Paper bag production (recycling of papers) also consumes four times as much energy as making a plastic bag and 91% more energy to recycle a pound of paper than a pound of plastic. If you thought that papers are biodegradable, well yes if they are only a few and not compressed but if they are in a chunk like in the landfills according to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that paper doesn’t degrade that much faster and generate landfill gas (LFG) emissions which has a methane – a potent greenhouse gas that contributes global warming.
Since paper is made out of trees then most likely it contributed global deforestation where wildlife habitats are destroyed. Though papers can be recycled over and over until no useful fiber is available we still cannot shrug off the possibility that the manufacturers will utilize trees (most often from illegal loggers, because it’s cheaper).
We may prevent flooding in our cities because there is no more plastic clogging our canals and waterways, maybe the ocean animals are safe from plastic pollution however we may be exchanging those benefits to the worst problems that are harder to mitigate or resolve. Global warming kills the ocean animals because it turns the sea more acidic, forest animals are slowly in endangered number due to deforestation and changes in the climate, less production of livestock because of environmental changes.
What exactly is the real threat?
Global warming is the real threat and not exactly the plastic; whether we like it or not plastic will still exist unless there’s an alternative material better and safer than it. I believe that the most effective way of mitigating if not resolving this major environmental concern is through education, tough and true to its purpose unbias laws implemented by the government, and of course a true heart towards preserving nature for future generations.
We need to ask these questions in choosing the right material that we will use as containers or tools.
- Can we recycle this material easily?
- Are the sourced raw materials renewable or non-renewable?
- What are the resources involved in producing this material?
- Will it utilize so much energy, consume so much water, and will it pollute the environment in producing the material?
- What will happen to the material, is it safe when it reached its end-of-life?