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Canada just got 1,500 tonnes of garbage back. From the Philippines, a nation that – judging by news photos of emaciated children in Manila scrabbling through mountains of trash looking for things they can salvage and sell – seems quite capable of generating its own garbage.
The garbage arrived in 69 containers, part of a shipment of 103 containers sent to the Philippines six years ago. The company that shipped it falsely labelled it as plastics for recycling. It did contain plastics. Also household trash. Electronics. Dirty diapers. Rotting food.
That company that sent it has gone out of business. Like Harry Belafonte’s Matilda, it took its money and ran.
The transaction raises questions about corporate ethics and bankruptcy loopholes.
But the question we should be asking is, why are we shipping our garbage anywhere?
Categories: Sharp Edges
Tags: plastics, Garbage, Philippines, Hunsberger, de Bono
This coming Sunday, April 22, is Earth Day. Not to be confused with Earth Hour, back in March, which promoted turning off surplus electric lights for one hour, causing a wave of darkness to sweep all around the earth. Earth Day has a larger focus this year, to “End Plastic Pollution.”
“Plastics,” says a promotion piece, “poison and injure marine life, disrupt human hormones, litter beaches and landscapes, [and] clog our waste streams and landfills. The exponential growth of plastics now threatens the survival of our planet.”
I don’t disagree. But I see plastics as a symptom of a deeper malaise. We didn’t have plastics until we made them out of fossil fuels. And our use and abuse of fossil fuels reflects the belief that this planet is a lifeless landfill site where we humans can dump our waste products forever.
Basically, we don’t care much about the earth that gives us life.
Categories: Soft Edges
Tags: Earth Day, plastics, pollution, Gaia, Lovelock, Margulis