these are the posts tagged ‘plastic’:

the wild beaches of koh samui…

… are littered with trash. here’s a small collection of shoes photographed on a short beach stroll.

plastic bottles, fishing nets, styrofoam, toothbrushes… i could go on and on, with multiple series on different themes. the further away from a fancy resort, the more sprinkled the beaches become with plastic trash, to such an extreme where it feels pointless to even fill up a bag with the stuff, as it wouldn’t make the least bit of difference. it’s shocking and eye-opening: we humans did this, and it all ends up here.

the problem is well known. the island’s only incinerator hasn’t worked in years. it’s hard enough to find trash bins, let alone recycling containers, and it feels like the only recycling happening here is done by locals who go through the trash trying to find scrap materials to re-use or sell. the rest is buried or dumped, without much care.

truth be told, the way garbage is treated is only part of the problem here, and perhaps not even the main one — if anything, at least garbage isn’t hidden away. it’s just there, for all to see. the problem is that all of this is made in the first place.

and i mean, it’s one thing to not buy bottled water, or to always carry tote bags to the market… but these are such small things. i look around me and there’s plastic everywhere — from the keys in my keyboard, to the shutters in the windows. how do you live in a modern society without plastic or oil, things so common that they feel like extra elements of the periodic table? we need a bigger plan for this.

baby steps, people, baby steps.

times are changing. just last week, from on day to the other, china announced the law that portugal dismissed a month ago: the ban on plastic bags.
from june onwards, there will be a tax on plastic bags at supermarkets and all thiner bags will be banned. tibet regional government wants to go a little bit further and ban all kinds of plastic bags in the region.

the planned outcome?

“With the right enforcement — that’s always the tricky part — and education campaigns, the upshot in China could be huge: China Trade News estimates that the country of 1.3 billion people must refine 5 million tons, or 37 million barrels, of crude oil every year to meet demand for plastic bags, which are used at a rate of 3 billion bags every day. Three billion. If that estimate is right, that means China uses as many bags in one month as the U.S. uses in a year–or that would mean that every day each Chinese citizen uses twice the amount of bags that each American uses.”

or “To put that into perspective, it would take Iceland about five years to use that much oil, but the USA would use that much oil in less than two days.

which is huge. australia came to the same conclusion and is studying a similar measure to the one planned for china:

“Australia is also considering a plastic bag ban, for implementation in 2009. But as Planet Ark founder Jon Dee points out, “the fact that China desires to do it in less than six months, I think is a sign that … we could do it faster than that.”

He continues: “The fact that the biggest country in the world, the biggest users of plastic bags, are moving to ban them … is extremely important, because if it can be done in China it can be done in any country in the world.”

quotes from treehuggershanghaiist and china time blog.