Throwaway Society is Spoiling Beaches

Published on September 13th, 2017

We are throwing away a lot more than past generations, and what doesn’t find a bin enters the environment. While this might be overlooked in big cities, this growing trend hits hard when there is no place for the trash to hide.

A throwaway society is to blame for increasing amounts of trash on Bermuda’s beaches, observes Anne Hyde, executive director of Keep Bermuda Beautiful. In The Royal Gazette, Hyde reports how increased amounts of plastic waste on the island’s shores was down to the use of wasteful packaging driven by consumer convenience.

“Over the years, we have noticed an increase in the volume of trash,” Hyde said. “It is harder to keep our beaches clean because of increased activity, more people, more consumption of food and drink at the beach, and the packaging that gets left behind.”

She said older generations might have taken a picnic from home with sandwiches wrapped in a tea towel and lemonade in a jar, and these would be reused again.

“The modern conveniences of single-use packaging and takeaway foods mean that there is an enormous uptick in the creation of trash,” added Hyde. “We now face the consequences of convenience-driven consumerism and the residue of trash left behind.”

She said marine debris also washes ashore with every tide and particularly during storms, with trash travelling from often thousands of miles away. Plastic ocean pollution is a relatively new phenomenon that is now reaching epidemic proportions with a ‘minestrone soup’ of marine debris in all five major oceans.

Hyde points out that statistics showed production and usage of plastic was expected to double in the next 20 years and by 2050, there could be as many pounds of plastic in the ocean as pounds of fish. “Already plastics are found in 62 per cent of sea bird species and 100 per cent of sea turtle species.”

Changing habits is hard, but the environment is paying the price for recent trends. How much longer can the earth consume our trash… our take-out food wrappers, cocktail straws, and single-use bottles. Now Amazon Prime is killing us in cardboard. When does it stop?

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