Earth Day 2018 is going to be on April 22. This year, the call is to end plastic pollution. The opening page of Earthday.org says:
“From poisoning and injuring marine life to disrupting human hormones, from littering our beaches and landscapes to clogging our waste streams and landfills, the exponential growth of plastics is now threatening the survival of our planet. In response, Earth Day 2018 is dedicated to providing the information and inspiration needed to fundamentally change human attitude and behavior about plastics.”
Since we’re in the business of municipal solid waste, we’re also in the business of dealing with plastics. Our work is essential now more than ever. Especially since China’s Waste Ban has gone into effect. We’re also seeing more plastic-related tragedies in news headlines.
“GREAT PACIFIC GARBAGE PATCH: THERE IS AN ISLAND OF TRASH TWICE THE SIZE OF TEXAS FLOATING IN THE OCEAN” was in all caps and bold font for an online Newsweek article recently. The piece reports that scientists studying the garbage patch believe it contains 79,000 tons of plastic. That’s up to 16 times more than the previous estimates.
I saw this headline on the internet today: “Sperm Whale Beached In Spain Died After Ingesting 29 Kilograms Of Plastic Waste.” An autopsy on the whale revealed it had about 64 pounds of plastic debris including ropes, nets, and plastic bags in its stomach and intestines. Wildlife experts believe the plastic waste caused an infection that ultimately killed the young sperm whale.
I don’t think you and I need these dramatic headlines and tragic stories to inspire us to keep working for solutions. But it might help us get the attention of the average citizen. Tell them about the beached sperm whale. Let them know there’s an island of trash in the Pacific Ocean that’s twice the size of Texas. And tell them about Earth Day 2018: End Plastic Pollution.
You also might want to check out Walter Cronkite’s Special Report on the very first Earth Day in 1970.