The Price of Progress

microplasticsFrom The Brussel Times

What is happening in our bodies?

This is a question asked in an article published by The Guardian entitled, “Microplastics found in human blood for first time.”

The lead sentence states:

Microplastic pollution has been detected in human blood for the first time, with scientists finding the tiny particles in almost 80% of the people tested.

I think most all of us are aware of the “plastics” problem that exists throughout the world (“microplastics now contaminate the entire planet”) and that it is increasing daily. But now they’re discovering plastic in the human body!

According to the article, researches are concerned because …

microplastics cause damage to human cells in the laboratory and air pollution particles are already known to enter the body and cause millions of early deaths a year.

The big question being asked is … are the microplastic levels high enough to trigger disease?

Apparently, babies are particularly susceptible because so many are fed from plastic bottles. But adults are not immune since much of today’s food and drink is packaged in PET plastic. In fact, according to the article, even plastic carrier bags can be unsafe.

The research is ongoing and it is a pioneering study, but one that is vital to our health since “Plastic production is set to double by 2040.”

As we consider the ramifications of the study, it’s a bit unnerving since so much of today’s food and drink is packaged in plastic. Nearly gone are the days of glass packaging — and even many items that used to be packaged in cans are now in plastic containers.

One wonders if the price of progress is really worth it in the long run.

Plastics and Recycling

EXCELLENT article (with images) related to recycling.

Plastics: What’s recyclable, what becomes trash — and why

Where I live, we can no longer put any kind of plastic in the recycle bin … only cans and cardboard boxes. We do take our soft drink cans and bottles to a local recycle center, use cloth bags for grocery shopping, and ask for paper at other retailers. But there’s still SO MUCH that we must toss in the regular trash.

One can’t help but wonder where all this is going to end up. We worry about climate change, but the plastics may take over the planet long before the weather does.

*Sigh* Human innovation may be the death of us all.

The Plastic Crisis

Most of us are aware that plastic is taking over our rivers, streams, and oceans. But sometimes, the problem is presented in such a large scale that we don’t realize how localized it can be.

In the following article, not only is the problem highlighted, but there are also several pictures that vividly demonstrate what plastic bags are doing to Islamabad, a community in Pakistan. (One bright note — in July, the coalition government of Prime Minister Imran Khan announced a ban on disposable plastic bags in Islamabad and surrounding areas.)

How Bad Is Pakistan’s Plastic Bag Problem? See For Yourself

Of course none of this matters because it’s just Pakistan. Right? It has nothing to do with the United States. Right? Or so says our illustrious leader who insists the plastic crisis isn’t OUR fault …

“Well, we have tremendous plastics coming over from Asia, from China, and various others,” he said. “It’s not our plastic. It’s plastic that’s floating over in the ocean and the various oceans from other places. No, plastics are fine, but you have to know what to do with them. But other countries are not taking care of their plastic use and they haven’t for a long time. And the plastic that we’re getting is floating across the ocean from other places, including China.”

Sidenote: Trump took personal credit Tuesday for a new plastic manufacturing plant being built by Royal Dutch Shell in Pennsylvania.

Image by H. Hach from Pixabay