We've graduated from pop culture, global culture, the X- and Y-generations, and perhaps even Millennia’s...
Regrettably, all of these civilizations have slowly but steadily contributed to the new culture that we now represent. A culture of plastic!
We are all made of plastic, and we litter, and this is what we shall leave behind in the history of urbanisation and civilisation in general. We will run out of space, clean water, and destroy the majority of water animals and possibly plants in our lifetime unless we change our ways right now.
How long will it take to ban plastic?
Stopping the production and use of plastic on a global scale would be a good start, as wastewater treatment systems can't handle all of that plastic.
At the moment, the only option to get rid of microplastics from water is to start dealing with the problem:
1: Stop consuming and manufacturing plastic
(Use alternative materials and methods e.g.: for storage and shipping to start with)
2: Clean up the oceans
(Yep, get rid of all that plastic!)
3: Change the way we think about reusable products
(Oh, The charm of these old-school food containers...)
Somehow, a significant portion of the world's population rejects secondhand and used materials, clothing, furniture, toys, and other 'old but good as new' goods that were formerly considered stylish and grunge, retro, and hip.
It's time to make REUSE and SWAP culture a global phenomenon.
Portals such as Maarktplaats (the Netherlands) or Done Deal (Ireland) are extremely popular in some countries more than others, and people are saving time and money (not to mention the natural environment, which is where the incentive is huge) by purchasing second hand items ranging from washing machines to baby clothes.
We need to do more LOCAL
In addition to reuse and recycling, because a lot of plastics are used to pack things for shipment. When families first begin shopping, choosing loose items (available in bulk, unpacked) and bringing their own tote is a great place to start. When choosing a market with local manufacturers, it is also easier to influence and acquire what you want for these proactive shoppers, in terms of packaging, as well.
Producers who use less packaging and instead provide raw items, don't have to pay for extra cleaning and packing operations, as well as plastic!
Repetition can turn it into a habit, which, as the proverb goes, will become second nature.
Small steps are sufficient. But we also require a significant shift in mindset.
The media is all over the 'plastic' topic, which is a good thing.
In the TED piece 'What plastic item would you wish to ban?' there is no 'false news' or artificial intelligence, simply dedicated oceanographers, environmental writers, and biologists speaking out. 'Micro-plastics have been found to breach the blood-brain barrier and cause alterations in fish behaviour,' says the author. You have to wonder, given that microplastics are already present in the water we drink, and thus in our blood, how this affects our thinking and behaviour.
It's time to ditch the plastic straws, bags, and maybe even the plastic attitude.
The good news is that everyone who wants to begin right now is not alone, and they should surely begin with their own decisions.
We have no choice but to denounce the culture of plastic. We need to regroup and reassess our strategy. Living in that plastic bubble should be considered obnoxious and immoral.
Also, instead of using plastic carriers or aeration grids, treat the wastewater with a Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactor constructed primarily of stainless steel and silicone membrane.