Nobody escapes the serious situation of pollution that has led to the use and abuse of plastic on a planetary scale. This week, the first human being to submerge in the Mariana Trench, more than 10 km deep in the Pacific Ocean, discovered plastic remains in that place. The situation is so worrisome that geologists are seriously discussing changing the era: from the current geological period of the Holocene to the Anthropocene (or as it is already known informally “Plasticoceno”).
With such a panorama, the solutions must be drastic and fast. We have to change our way of consuming and the way we acquire our goods. However, those responsible for this disaster, companies that manufacture, sell and distribute these single-use containers (with the permissiveness of administrations), show little or no interest to reduce the pollution they cause.
All of them intend to continue with their business and as the only alternative they propose that their plastic products are recyclable. Only that? As demonstrated by Greenpeace in its latest report “Cursed Plastic: recycling is not enough” only with recycling will not respond to the pollution that the planet suffers because of plastic. In Spain, only 25.4% of plastic containers are recovered, the rest ends up contaminating the environment (buried, incinerated, exported or thrown into the environment).
Given the magnitude of the problem, and facing the upcoming municipal elections, Greenpeace asks municipalities to adopt municipal policies aimed at modifying the consumption model in Spanish cities and reduce the waste they generate. These measures could range from the fact that all municipal buildings and events are free of disposable plastics, through door-to-door waste collection, until a Deposit, Return and Recovery System is put in place to favor the use of reusable containers.
The solutions have to come from the hand of all the actors involved in the problem: companies, supermarkets, governments and citizens. A serious change of mentality is necessary that ends with the “throwaway” and that fosters the culture of reparability, reuse and exchange. This does not mean that we stop separating our waste, we have to do it more and better. But this has to be complemented with reducing and radically changing our way of consuming.