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plastics in the sea

23 December 2015
Climate change

Another favourite doomsaying of the media is the finger pointing aimed at poor old Joe Public because of mountains of plastic waste supposedly accumulating in the oceans of the world – particularly in the Pacific (and we all know the people of the western seaboard of the US and Canada are the most caring environmentalists of all, and don't we). After all, California and Seattle, along with Vancouver and the upmarketeers in the holiday haunts in the mountains with the ski slopes, are more concerned than those backward people in the hillbilly regions of the interior. We are supposed to feel guilty about plastic waste in the oceans in spite of hillbillys living distant from the sea shore – as plastic waste is carried down by the rivers to the sea. Over here, in order to stop plastic bags getting into water habitats, the politicos have decided to make everyone pay a 5 pence surcharge, a sort of tax on being of evil intent (ruining the planet with plastic waste). Plastic bags are useful not just for putting your shopping in and providing you with the ability to lessen the likelihood of dropping your carton of milk or tins of beans, but for various other re-uses from putting your food waste in prior to depositing in your green bin (and over here we have black, blue, brown and green bins for various separations once done by the council). Plastic bags are one of the most useful inventions of the 20th century – they can be re-used over and over again. The politicos have rewarded their corporate friends in woe and weeping by boosting their profit margin – at the expense of Joe Public.

The Green Blob are adept at stretching the truth, exaggerating, and telling porkies. They are rarely abashed and will tell lies without blinking knowing full well that people going out to work and bringing up families rarely have the time to check the facts behind the doomsayings. However, there are always exceptions to the rule, some people prepared to investigate a popular tale. They might be retired, laid off by redundancy, or rehabilitating from a serious illness, or they might have ceased to be enthusiastic about watching the TV in the evenings, and a more productive hobby is seen as desirable. Over at http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/12/17/an-ocean-of-plastic/ … we have just such a person, someone with time on their hands and an inquisitive mind. He set out to look at what really lies behind the media hype about plastic waste in the oceans and those images of plastic bottles and garbage bobbing around in the sea. It seems that just like those pictures of steam coming out of power stations and being presented as polution pouring into the atmosphere, a similar trick is at play. Images favoured by the likes of The Guardian and the more rabid of newspapers don't really have anything to do with the oceans. One favourite view is of the Philippines following a  tropical storm which caused waste from the streets and bins of Manila to end up in the harbour. The streets were washed clean by the wind and the rain but the harbour ended up with lots of plastic waste floating on the surface – including the demonised plastic items that the Green Blob is so antagonistic towards. One cannot be surprised by any of this as that is what they are all about – making a mountain out of a mole hill.

If we go back a few years municipal rubbish was regularly dumped in the oceans, and one of your sources of modern Green nobleness, New York City, regularly took boat loads of rubbish out to sea and dumped it out of site of the shoreline (and this practise did not come to an end until 1992). Over here in Europe the  Green Blob wailed against landfill sites and even twisted the arm of EU bureaucrats to ban them, in spite of them being useful in filling in outworked quarries and gravel diggings. Instead we now have giant incinerators that really do send clouds of polution into the atmosphere – so what did they really achieve (apart from raising local tax rates).

Plastics are said to have a difficulty in breaking down – not prone to degradation. Some plastic products are really quite resistant – but nature gives and nature takes back into its arms (as the article goes on to show). One of the most staggering parts of the hype are the numbers involved – an estimated 12.7 million tons of plastic waste entering the oceans. Even politicos might sit up when reading number crunching like that – but how was it arrived at? They have of course exaggerated the amount of plastic by simulating on their computers an estimate of the amount of plastic produced around the world, with no actual fact checking on the figures, and then have taken an arbitrary further number by claiming 15 per cent of all that plastic ends up in the oceans.

The politicos and their skirt draggers have of course absolved themselves in a sort of parody of purgatory by making a law that everyone out there must now pay a 5 pence surcharge on the plastic bags that are so useful. Greens have once again made the rich all the richer at the expense of the low paid. Are they demonising the weakest sections of society – are ordinary people dispensable (after all their biggest doomsaying is over-population).

The article at Watts is by a guy that does some boating as a hobby – and has tacked up quite a few thousand nautical miles. He says it is rare to see something floating in the ocean and when you come across it the objects have usually been washed by waves from fishing boats – buckets, buoys, floats and the like. Studies have claimed that 99 per cent of plastic dumped in the oceans has actually disappeared. First it is broken down into small pieces by wave action and salt water and then is gobbled up by bacteria. Some of it is eaten by wildlife – including sea creatures and birds. The idea that heaps of plastic bottles and yoghurt cartons are bobbing around the oceans is a myth. The images from storms striking cities like Manila have been used to invent a problem which hardly exists in reality – or at least a problem that could be more properly dealt with by a little political will on behalf of those nations with shorelines. Even the images of dead albatrosses are the product of trickery and false information – and the odd turtle that has died on some indigestible piece of plastic. Overblown in the usual Green Blob manner. How can anyone trust people who avoid the truth and do not think they are subject to the truth, as if it was an an outmoded concept, chauvinistic and reactionary, tarred with a backward state of mind, something to detest rather than admire.


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