Plastic – let’s stay focused on the risks here people.

We’ve all seen the furore created by the recent Orb Media study on micro-plastics in bottled water. Yes, it’s good that WHO are reportedly going to look into the health impacts but excuse me if I stay focused on helping to deal with microbiological risks, which patently kill people.  Now before I get pistol whipped here, I need to be clear.  I’m all for trying to deal with plastics in the environment and glad the Blue Planet episode brought that into relief. I agree we should substantially reduce the amount of the stuff we use, particularly the number of single-use applications.  What we can’t use again, then the initiatives to drive the expansion of recycling options are valuable. I do want to know if nano-plastics are running around my brain (assuming of course they can get past the blood-brain barrier) and I don’t want to choke on bigger bits in my food. But in-between sized particles that are likely to go in one end and out the other? I just think we have greater health and environmental challenges to be worried about. Even if the real foodborne disease risks, don’t seem to grab public attention, how about we stay more firmly tuned into the implications of obesity and climate change, both significantly greater existential threats than plastic in our water bottles.

Maybe if fewer bottles are purchased, regardless if it’s for the wrong reason or not, the environment could benefit (depending on the substituted behaviours). Or, if the attention switches to plastic in soft drinks, a reduction in the consumption of sugared drinks could be seen. A case of ends justifying the means perhaps?

John Bassett

John Bassett Consulting Ltd, 19 Devon Road, Bedford, MK40 3DJ, United Kingdom