Happy Earth Day 2020, the day when the ridiculousness of banning single-use plastics really becomes obvious. Plastic straws and disposable plastic bags are designated by our public health professionals as health, and even life, saving items. Think, also, of all the single-use materials needed in our hospitals and healthcare centres. Would you want to be in the hospital without such protection for yourself and our hospital workers?
The argument to stop producing oil and gas loses its lustre, too. Plastic is made from oil. We also need to make sure we have a reliable energy source to power all our necessary and life saving services. Wind and solar are not anywhere near sufficient or dependable for this. Nuclear is a good alternative, but we would need to build significantly more plants.
A bigger problem that needs a collective consciousness to address is pollution and litter. For instance, people leaving plastic gloves, used masks and other disposable plastics on the ground is horrible and inexcusable. Another common item tossed on the ground is cigarette butts. These accounted for the most numerous item found on shorelines in Canada and the US in 2019. Cigarette butts are nasty items that damage our waterways and parks, yet they somehow evade the rage activists and some politicians direct towards plastic straws.
Collectively we can shame people into behaving responsibly without banning or prohibiting any of our essential materials. By respecting the environment we all live in, we can fight plastic and litter pollution.
This Earth Day when we have the attention of so many people isolated at home, is a perfect time to share this message.