For far too long, the world has treated the problem of the growing quantities of waste that is created like garbage: something to be dumped and forgotten. That time is over. If any doubts remain as to whether Planet Earth is facing a trash crisis, consider the recent symptoms of distress: the enforced six-month shutdown of the Philippine resort of Boracay choking in its own filth; the death of a whale in Spain with nearly 30 kg of plastic and man-made detritus jammed in its guts; the many reports of growing amounts of plastics and microplastics in sea water around the world.
Microplastics are ingested by sea creatures, which are in turn consumed by humans. What the long-term health consequences are is the subject of research, but given their known potential as conveyors of harmful chemicals, surely it is better to take collective action now than later. But what is hobbling action at all levels is an "out of sight, out of mind" attitude. The result: rivers clogged with the flotsam and jetsam of a thriving disposable industry; fishing grounds and coastal areas ruined by industrial and farm effluent; tropical resorts overrun with tourists but lacking in sewage treatment facilities.
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