I have added a contents list to my Blog Navigator so both you and I can keep a track of each entry. I have learnt a lot in the course of writing this blog, and I don’t propose to finish writing at this point, but I would love to throw this topic open to my readers, so we can develop the discussion and throw out some possible solutions to what seems an overwhelming problem.
To summarise, I have discovered that we can recycle nearly every piece of plastic we use, with the exception of EPF (expanded polystyrene foam) if it has been in contact with meat. There are various problem items such as plastic bags that have paper stuck to them, cardboard cartons that have plastic linings or internal layers, and bottle tops – although the latter are supposed to be recyclable if we collect them in large plastic bottles. Larger items such as tyres or pieces of machinery that are part plastic, part metal and other fibres are also problematic. And I still haven’t found out how you recycle those plastic netting orange bags. I’d like to address each of these problems in a separate post, over a period of several weeks, and invite contributions from others.
As for the problem of dumping plastic at or near my creek, that requires education. I’m talking to one of the primary schools that backs onto the creek, and the children there are already aware of the risk that plastic poses to the environment. So it’s us, their parents, who are the biggest culprits. We continue to put plastic straws and chip packets in their lunch boxes, buy them plastic toys that break in five minutes, and set the worst example by throwing polystyrene packaging into landfill – or down the banks of the creek.
I’ve learnt that we are the second biggest plastic polluters in the world, even though our streets and public places look on the surface to be clean and pleasant places.
I’ve learnt that we can’t expect the Councils to perform miracles, but we can do a lot to help them by talking to their education team, and asking the right questions.
A lot of industries are keen to be as green as possible, as in the long run it saves them money and will make them popular in the public eye. So if we like our industries to be green, we should set them an example, and show them that we care too.
Please visit my Facebook Page and post your comments, add links, talk to me and to each other. This problem won’t go away for another thousand ears, but we can stop adding to it NOW.
Well, that’s a start. Now let’s go back to the creek.
I continued on from where I’d left off yesterday, and found a number of dead trees, presumably feral ones that had been poisoned. Further on, I found some flourishing feral olives.
On the other side of the creek there were signs of industry: we are next to the Lonsdale industrial estate here, but there’s little to indicate its presence beyond the obvious buildings and a constant hum of machinery.
But there were plenty of signs of human occupation:
Both of these were a little large for me to take home. I contented myself with gathering the debris surrounding another drain that had recently poured gallons of water into the creek.
My way was barred soon after this by a fence.
I had reached the expressway, and they have banned all access until the widening of the expressway has been completed. For those of you who don’t know, Adelaide is renowned for having the longest one-way expressway in the world. After continuous petitioning from the humble public, who found it extremely difficult to remember which way the expressway would be travelling at any given time of the day, the government finally decided to turn it into a two-way expressway. We hope they will complete the project by 2015.
Notice the difference between these two photos: one is EPF, dispersing into little balls that will be swallowed by unsuspecting creatures. The other shows hundreds of tiny land snail shells.
I went back to my beloved beach, to see how much plastic was coming out of the creek. The creek was much smaller today, and at first sight there wasn’t much plastic.
But I found plenty of tiny pieces, as well as some things that could strangle a few wild creatures.
That’s quite enough for Day 28. I am going to take a rest from blogging for a few days, but I’ll keep collecting the plastic, then at the end of this week I shall assemble my collection. I’m still not quite sure where I am going to display it, I’m open to suggestions. And please send in comments, show me you care!