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Monkeying With The Planet

Monkeying With The Planet

December 2010: Companies that enrich themselves by selling packaged drinking water, flavoured or unflavoured, in plastic bottles are significant contributors to global climate change.


Credit:Deepak Chourasia/Special Mention Sanctuary-RBS Wildlife Photography Awards 2010


The amount of energy used in manufacturing the plastic raw material, moulding the bottle, processing and filling the content, transporting it to the market and then dealing with the waste is best visualised by imagining you are throwing away something like a quarter bottle of fossil-fuel-sourced oil each time you buy and throw a plastic beverage bottle away.


And for those who suggest glibly that plastic can be recycled, the bad news is that it cannot. At best it can be down-cycled. After four or five ‘remouldings’ the plastic is useless and must be dumped either in landfills, in the ocean, or worse, incinerated. The problem of landfills is well known. After years of ignoring environmental warnings, most large municipalities around the world now recognise landfills as one of their most critical problems that results in water and air toxicity, plus greenhouse gas emissions.


Even today, attempts to curb this absurd bottle-it-drink-it-trash-it racket meets with vociferous objections from the beverage industry, which spends a fortune each year lobbying legislators in different countries to either look the other way, or create enough loopholes in the law to allow them to carry on their toxic-business-as-usual.


This debate is normally posited as “Environment Vs. Development”, which is ridiculous. It is nothing of the sort. The vast bulk of humanity drinks water without recourse to plastic. The ones who promote plastic for this purpose have one very straightforward objective in mind… profit. And in the process it hardly concerns them that they often release xenohormones – man-made substances that have hormone-like effects – into our environment and therefore into our bodies.


And why is this important to you, apart from the impact on our climate? Why should you, for instance, Google “xenohormones”? Because industries are working overtime to keep the public ignorant of the fact that xenohormones can cause a buffet of unwanted problems including reproductive abnormalities, cancers, falling sperm counts and infertility. These come from a variety of sources including petrochemical compounds released when food and drink come into contact with packaging subjected to heat, sometimes just the heat from poorly-stored finished products.


So. The simple message to the chemical industry that Rachel Carson accused decades ago of injecting endocrine disrupting chemicals into our bodies, is this: “We now know who you are and we know exactly what and why you are doing what you do. Cease and desist, or risk facing protracted and punitive legal prosecution for monkeying with our planet, our health and our children from millions of awakened victims.”


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