What a mess we are making of our planet!

Microplastics have been found dropping from the sky in a remote stretch of the high Pyrenees – a stark illustration of the way that the pollutants, carried on the winds, have the potential to accumulate “anywhere and everywhere”.  Humans and other animals are consuming microplastics via food and water (including tap water), and there is evidence that we may also be breathing them in from the air.

The long-term effect of ingesting this material is not yet clear, but its sheer ubiquity means that the issue must be taken seriously, said Steve Allen, of the EcoLab institute near Toulouse, France. “If it is going to be a problem, it is going to be a very big problem,” he warned. “I don’t think there is an organism on Earth that is immune to this.” The researchers calculate that microplastics can travel 60 miles in the air. But as Saharan winds can carry particles of sand for hundreds of miles, this is likely to be a low estimate. The plastic was found in a part of the Pyrenees that is four miles from the nearest village and 15 miles from the nearest town.  (The Guardian and The Week, 27 April 2019)

What can we do about those who despise science and scientists, shrug their shoulders and call the growing threat to the planet fake news?  We can try to vote them out, but they have the support of rich corporations and individuals who are corrupt and who will protect their fortunes at any cost – to others, of course.  Money is more important than other people and the planet itself.  When the crunch comes they will blame someone else – they always do.  We are slipping into deep crisis, and it may need another wrenching and violent world upheaval to eventually help the human race to survive.  What we want is ataraxia and happy lives.  Collectively we cannot see beyond our noses.



  1. Unwanted plastic from the west has accumulated in the ports of the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam while vast amounts from Europe and the US have built up across Malaysia. Now, south-east Asia is saying no more: Malaysia has started sending it back by the container load, while the Philippines has threatened to dump 1,500 tonnes of Canada’s waste plastic back in that country’s waters. Only 9% of the world’s plastics are recycled, with the rest mostly ending up in landfills across south-east Asia or illegally incinerated, releasing poisonous fumes blamed for contaminated water, crop death and respiratory illnesses. Beau Baconguis, from the anti-plastics GAIA group, said western countries were still only willing to take back their rubbish “begrudgingly” but “it’s their waste so these countries should be responsible for it”.
    The Guardian 26 May 2019

  2. A coral atoll “drowning in plastic”
    The remote Cocos (Keeling) Islands, two low-lying coral atolls in the Indian Ocean, 1,300 miles from Western Australia, are marketed as the country’s “last unspoilt paradise”. But the slogan is misleading: when a team from the University of Tasmania checked on the state of the tiny territory’s beaches, they found that they were littered with plastic debris, 90% of which was buried under sand. Following a study of two dozen beaches, they estimate that the 27 islands – only two of which are permanently inhabited – are littered with 414 million pieces of plastic, weighing a total of 238 tonnes. Among this detritus are an estimated 373,000 toothbrushes and 977,000 shoes. “Cocos is literally drowning in plastic, which is really sad considering how incredibly remote these islands are,” said Dr Jennifer Lavers, who led the research. (The Week, 1 June 2019)

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