By Fr. G. Corwin Stoppel
I’ve been known for a few culinary disasters, starting with my sardine, onion, garlic and limburger cheese paté. Or my crumbled Spam, pinto bean, crème of mushroom soup, and noodle hot dish.
Then there were pumpkin-flavored cupcakes with dill pickle icing. I like them, but not everyone has acquired that taste.
I recently read something truly nauseating. It described how we consume the equivalent of a teaspoon filled with shiny bits of plastic glitter and finely-chopped micro-plastics in our water and food each week. That’s a heaping dinner plate every year.
However pretty that may look, it is not appealing, even adding ketchup or Tabasco sauce. At least my paté is healthy.
Micro plastics are everywhere. They’re the sparkle in greeting cards we open: that small stuff that gets on our clothes and hands, then gets washed off in the laundry or shower, goes down the drain to the water filtration sites and heads straight out to the Great Lakes.
It gets gobbled up by the smaller fish that get gobbled up by bigger ones, which get gobbled up by us.
The bits and pieces that don’t get eaten between here and the St. Lawrence River mouth end up in the oceans, along with some five trillion pounds of other plastics. Not to worry, the glitter breaks down in just a couple of thousand years.
It’s in plastic bags we carry home from the store, and in plastic peanuts used for packing. More of them are in one-time use plastic bottles people carry with them like accessories.
And that’s just the domestic side of it. There’s no telling what danger lurks behind the hurricane fence surrounding industrial plants.
Who knows, maybe you’ve already had a chance to chow down on your old computer or cell phone. Oh, and while we’re at it, there’s more micro-plastic in balloons.
One partial solution would be for the state or federal government to ban single-use plastic bags like Oregon did this year. Our Michigan legislature declined to take such a step a few years ago, then went one step further by stating no municipality could enact an ordinance to ban their use. I smell a rat in that one; Who paid off who, how much?
It’s up to us to do what we can by reducing our use of plastics that get broken down to micro plastics. No more glitter, plastic water bottles and one-time plastic bags.
We won’t make a very big impact, but at least we can look at ourselves in the mirror and know we moved in the right direction.