Let’s not ignore perils of plastic

Worth putting up with limp paper straws
We were waiting for a ferry for our ride back to Maputo. It arrived at the allotted time and I took my seat among the 80 or so people.
This was a different boat to the one we took across and it looked so rickety, I was worried it wouldn’t complete the journey. It burped, coughed, sputtered and shook to life before it snailed its way back to the mainland.
Midway into our journey, someone on our ferry threw a plastic bag into the sea. It was a black single-use plastic bag. A woman sitting next
to me drew a deep breadth and remarked to no one in particular that a turtle was going to die. I was so glad to hear someone speak English in this Portuguese environment.
Indeed, a marine animal was going to ingest that plastic bag and surely asphyxiate all because of the folly of man. I mean, who does not, in this day and age, know that plastic is a menace to flora and fauna? It is for this reason that I have radically reduced my consumption of single-use plastic.
The cashier at my favourite liquor outlet no longer asks me that nebulous question: plastic? I’ve long lectured her on the malady of issuing plastic for every single purchase, the same plastic ends up in the lakes, rivers and oceans to strangle turtle and sardine.
Cows and other land-based mammals are also prone to chewing plastic bags stuck on the fence. I do not know how many times my late grandmother admonished me from chewing on plastic a†er I had sucked the iced guava nectar.
The story then, which remains true to today, was that the plastic would entangle your intestines and you’d die a most horrific death. So imagine a stupid cow singing in agony in the kraal and dying a slow death all because of man-made plastic.
A friend took umbrage at Ocean Basket when our order arrived without plastic straws
for the beverages. I took the opportunity to explain to her that the fishery was right to banish plastic straws, which end up in the oceans. The paper straws, she protested, went limp before the cold drink was finished, unlike the plastic.
That’s when I lectured her about the vicissitudes of single-use plastic, which man needs to make his life easier but with serious repercussions for other animals.
By the time I was done with my National Geographic tutorial, my companion had a damp eye and she forswore the use of plastic.
It is a pity that our government, a†er passing the legislation to punish the consumer for buying plastic willy-nilly by making us pay a levy, has somewhat neglected to use that levy to recycle and educate the country about the dangers of using plastic.
Instead, the 40c levy you pay every time the cashier gives you a plastic bag is ring-fenced in the Treasury and probably used to bail out a state-owned enterprise or for other sinister motives.
So, what happened to that turtle in the seas of Maputo? Don’t get me started!
By Vusi Nzapheza STRAIGHT & 2 BEERS


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