Animal’s Daily Plastics News

Plastics have their uses.

Thanks as always to The Other McCain for the Rule Five linkery!

It seems plastics aren’t nearly as bad for the environment as some folks would have you believe; and it turns out that the United States is far from being a major offender as well.  Excerpt:

After painstakingly analyzing debris in the north central Pacific Ocean, where converging currents create the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” a team of scientists from four continents reported in 2018 that more than half the plastic came from fishing boats—mostly discarded nets and other gear. These discards are also the greatest threat to marine animals, who die not from plastic bags but from getting entangled in the nets. Another study, published last year by Canadian and South African researchers, traced the origins of plastic bottles that had washed up on the shore of the aptly named Inaccessible Island, an uninhabited landmass in the middle of the southern Atlantic Ocean. More than 80 percent of the bottles came from China and must have been tossed off boats from Asia traversing the Atlantic.

Some plastic discarded on land does end up in the ocean, but very little of it comes from consumers in the United States or Europe. Most of the labels on the plastic packaging analyzed in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch came from Asia, the greatest source of what researchers call “mismanaged waste.” Of the plastic carried into oceans by rivers, a 2017 study in Nature Communications estimated, 86 percent comes from Asia and virtually all the rest from Africa and South America. Developing countries don’t yet have good systems for collecting and processing waste, so some of it is simply dumped into or near rivers, and these countries’ primitive processing facilities let plastic leak into waterways.

It’s true that some plastic in America is littered on beaches and streets, and some of it winds up in sewer drains. But researchers have found that laws restricting plastic bags (which account for less than 2 percent of litter) and food containers do not reduce litter (a majority of which consists of cigarette butts and paper products). The resources wasted on these anti-plastic campaigns would be better spent on more programs to discourage littering and to pick up everything that’s discarded—a direct approach that has proved effective.

Note the sources – over 80% of ocean-borne plastic waste is from Asia (particularly China) and Africa.

The current trend of some of our (mostly Democrat-run) cities to engage in such petty virtue-signalling as banning plastic bags and straws us just plain silly, as the research done here proves; not that this will stop authoritarian nanny-state pols from pushing such policies, nor will it stop the ill-informed, emotionally-driven voters from agitating for such actions.

The core of this, it seems to me, has nothing to do with facts, or evidence, or thoughtful application of policy.  It has a lot to do with emotionally-driven activism, with an American-Bad philosophy, and with the weird strain of Luddism that seems to be infecting some of the political Left these days.