Nicola & Pete plus daughters Lola, now 9 and Nell, now 7, spent last year exploring Britain in a carbon-light manner. Our spring 2008 challenge is to give up waste from 24 March to 24 April. Most posts are by Nicola (as it was her silly idea). This is how it’s going:
When I first arrived as a VSO to work in Solomon Islands the main town, Honiara, was a mess. That was 1990, but I doubt it is much cleaner now.
Solomon Islanders used empty oil and DDT drums to put out their rubbish, but whatever precautions you took these were knocked over and sifted through by the town’s many stray dogs.
Even when the rubbish was collected it was taken less than a mile up the road to Ranandi to the large dump. For those looking for humour it is sort of ironic that when families got fed up with aging dogs (eg, the ones with mange) they’d abandon them at the dump – making the place even less attractive/safe to visit. Ranandi was also the site of the Solomon Brew factory and the business park. I used to go up there to the printers and was constantly amazed by the assault of wind, heat, dust, flies and smell.
In the villages stuff was a lot more precious, so there was much less thrown away.
This week’s evening BBC news reports are currently focusing on another Pacific island, Midway, which has the bad luck to wash up much of the plastic waste us humans dump. The reports by XXXX have shown that all the albatroses there have ingested plastic. Big bits – easily mistaken as a jellyfish – can kill. But now it turns out that when plastic eventually disintegrates into miniscule pieces it leaves toxic pillules that are ingested by those crusteaceans, krill and other animals at the bottom of the food chain. The result is that plastic has managed to get itself into our diet which is likely to have a seriously toxic impact.
We may have done it vocariously, but as The Ancient Mariner found out, killing albatrosses is a way of storing up plenty bad karma.
Verdict: as all the plastic bag free town campaigners keep trying to remind shoppers, there is no such thing as away. Not if you know about Midway.