LETTER: Plastic production must be reduced

We cannot rely on consumers to curtail their use…

To the Editor,

Plastic is a part of almost every aspect of our lives. Its use in medicine can be essential to a person’s survival. But, however useful they may be, plastics are also a major source of pollution.

We find plastic waste in every part of our environment—even the water we drink and the air we breathe. So it should be no real surprise that microplastics have recently been found in human placentas. What are the implications of this to the health of a developing fetus and future adults? Only time and research will tell.

Amid growing public awareness, plastic companies are pledging to do more to increase recycling. But more recycling can never solve the problem. It will always be cheaper to manufacture plastic products from virgin resins and there is little market for remanufactured plastic products. At present less than 10 percent of plastic is being recycled and most of that to downgraded plastic products.

The Federal government is currently working on a plan to deal with plastic waste. It is essential that government policies focus on reduction of our reliance on plastic products. However, because plastics are—in many cases—so convenient and cheap, we cannot rely on consumers to curtail their use as long as the producers continue putting products on the shelf.

Industry must be legislated to find alternatives to plastic. Government plans to ban the production of certain single use plastics are a start. A small start. A walk around the aisles of any grocery store testifies to the success of plastic companies to have us using their single use products in every aspect of our lives. The government must mandate a graduated reduction in the production of plastics and make way for the creation and use of sustainable alternatives, such as the food-safe paper products being developed by Paper Excellence in Port Alberni.

John Mayba,

Port Alberni

Letter to the Editor