From the European Union to Australia, the West is waging war on plastic.
It’s the latest moral panic. Soon, we’re told, there will be more plastic in the sea than there are fish. The floating island of plastic known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is now three times the size of France. Fish are becoming so addicted to pollution they actually prefer plastic microbeads to real food. It’s killing whales. Etc.
Of course I can see why governments are keen to be seen responding to this terrible threat. If you’re as desperately useless as Theresa May’s UK government, for example, it makes perfect sense to try to distract everyone from your incompetence by launching bold anti-plastic initiatives which get you a big thumbs up from national treasures like Sir David Attenborough and which don’t cost the public purse much money.
But I wish they wouldn’t bother. As this article from Inside Sources demonstrates – and it really ought to be required reading for all those bansturbators out there working themselves into a righteous frenzy about just how Medieval they’re going to get on plastic’s ass – these plastic bans, in the West at any rate, are a complete waste of space.
The pollution is predominately fish nets
Interestingly, the primary culprits weren’t straws, cups and plastic bags. In The Ocean Cleanup’s Pacific patch sample, 46 percent was fish nets. When combined with ropes and lines, it amounted to 52 percent of the trash. The rest included hard plastics ranging from large plastic crates and bottle caps to small fragments referred to as microplastics, which comprise 8 percent of the mass. Obviously, this is not simply a consumer waste issue, and the solutions need to address that.
Most of the other pollution comes mainly from Asia or Africa