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Shropshire Star comment: Plastic nightmare is ruining our future

Readers' letters | Published:

Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Plastic Age...

Part of the landscape

Archaeologists of today rejoice at rare finds revealing glimpses of ancient history. But the archaeologists of the future will curse the current generation.

They will find abundant evidence of how we lived. They will be swamped by a tidal wave of plastic, plastic that degrades very slowly if at all, plastic that floats in the oceans with the potential to kill or damage for centuries to come.

As there is a developing crisis today, heaven knows what things will be like in years to come unless effective action is taken. The world is becoming wrapped in clingfilm.

The Blue Planet programme appears to have been a gamechanger in raising public awareness and placing the issue on the political agenda.

Theresa May's Government is promising to eliminate avoidable plastic waste within 25 years. Already simple measures, like charging for plastic bags in supermarkets, are having some effect.

Previous generations have come and gone leaving little trace. What we call recycling was a way of life to them. Nothing would be needlessly wasted because people simply couldn't afford to live like that.

Clothes would be handed down or darned rather than buying new, and if something broke, it would be fixed.

The throwaway society is a by-product of living in times, relatively speaking, of wealth and plenty, and when there is plenty of something, it ceases to be precious. Rather than cherishing things as they get older, there is the lure of the new.

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Westerners who work in parts of the world where people face levels of life and death poverty may feel ashamed of this wasteful way of life back home in which things are thoughtlessly thrown away - it is the literal truth that people give little thought to what happens to those things they dispose of.

Plastic is a particular nightmare because it is so enduring. Those future generations will be blighted by our crimes again the environment, in which consumers are complicit.

Unfortunately plastic is a very useful product for packaging and preserving goods. If people made a habit of buying, and eating, fresh food, rather than ready meals which can be kept in the fridge or freezer, that would reduce the need for plastic.

There also needs to be development of alternative packaging methods which biodegrade rapidly.

If you don't think there's a problem, take a walk in the countryside. You will see no plastic. That is how bad it is. It is so prevalent that it has become part of the landscape.

Start looking for it and you will see it everywhere.

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