Saturday, 11 August 2018

QotD: "Plastic is not poison or pollution, it is litter."


"Plastic does not ‘poison’ anything. It’s non-toxic.... It’s litter, not pollution. Many people find it unsightly, and the solution is to educate people not to discard it into the environment and to organise, as is done on highways, to have it removed..."Plastic is not poison or pollution, it is litter."
~ Canadian ecologist and Greenpeace co-founder Dr. Patrick Moore, quoted in the article 'The War on Plastics is Dangerously Misguided,' and from his own essay, 'Twelve Invisible Eco-Catastrophes and Threats of Doom That are Actually Fake'
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29 comments:

  1. Seriously? And the damage to marine ecosystems? I know, it’s trumped by the sheer joy you get from using a plastic straw. All hail the mighty Rand.

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    1. The plastic waste in marine ecosystems is from the half-dozen most polluted rivers in the world, none of which have anything to do with New Zealand.
      And, by the way, the Greens have banned bags, and not yet straws -- net impact of the ban being negative for the poor, who will need to buy bin liners; negative for freedom, since busybody gain more power to force folks' behaviour; and net positive for manufacturers of higher plastic content bags. Net result of their vacuous virtue signalling.
      And ... if you don't want plastic straws on beaches here, then don't litter. It needn't be that complicated.

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    2. It’s a global problem requiring action at multiple levels and jurisdictions. And while I don’t doubt for a second that your primary concern here is for the wellbeing of the poor, ignoring the issue as a paritulcalry weak anti-poverty measure even for a Randist.

      “Virtue signalling” went out as an insult in 2016, do keep up.

      And yep I’ve stopped dropping my plastic straws on the beach. That didn’t help, but great suggestion as always. And you call others vacuous. To be fair, though you’re more fatuous.

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    3. I’m quite certain none of the plastic straws I consume end up in the ocean.

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    4. Is that because you eat them?

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    5. Micro plastics can be toxic in a variety of ways. Unfortunately, as has been mentioned, 95% of micro plastics come from 10rivers in Asia, Africa, and South America. Modern landfills are designed to prevent any release of material, and are constantly monitored to verify this (I tried to get a few of these contracts). While the quote above is incorrect, combatting the error with flagrant implied lies hardly helps anyone, and in fact makes it harder to have a real conversation on these topics.

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    6. Yes, very little ends up in the ocean from Western countries, so banning plastic bags, that will never end up in the ocean anyway, will not solve the problem, but will create a host of unforeseen consequences.

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    7. Snowflake - because I throw the straws in my bin, and I know that from my bin it ends up in the Kate Valley landfill - not in the ocean. I also know that other regions in NZ have similar arrangements for disposing of waste that means they don't end up in the ocean, and nobody I know throws straws in the river or ocean. The fact you continue to insist that banning them in NZ is somehow important to the marine ecology, without even attempting to address the comments others have made in a similar vein suggests either dishonesty on your part, or an inability to process evidence and think clearly.

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    8. Oh well, there’s obviously no problem because you and everyone you know always throw their plastic in a bin and land fill processes here are perfect. Congratulations, point well made! There are therefore no plastic bags on the beach or in the ocean around NZ ever, and this is why. Evidence ladies and gentlemen, despite what your eyes tell you. This is typical of libertarian thought processes when confronted with a problem requiring collective action; first deny it exists (you’re here), second claim it’s not actually a real problem (where Peter’s at) third claim it’s not your fault (Dinwar), fourth claim the solution is worse (Dinwar again). Finally, hurl and insult or two and flounce off claiming victory over the slavering beast.

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    9. Au contraire. You've implied that banning plastic in NZ is crucial to maintaining the health of marine ecologies . The best test of that claim, or any claim to knowledge is to see if it integrates in a non contradictory way with what you already know. Your claim fails this first test. Another indicator, although not necessarily proof is to observe whether the person making the claim is attempting to straw man the opposing position - which you clearly are, not just of me but everyone else on this thread.

      MarkT

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    10. Speaking of straw men, your claim to understand what I’ve implied is false. Ceasing the use of plastic bags here will reduce the damage to the immediate environment but needs to be supplemented by further meaningful international action. Think CFCs and lead in petrol. You guys really struggle when presented with problems that cannot be solved without collective action (fact). You’re still in denial, Mark, while the sharper tools in the libertarian box have moved on to minimising, rationalisation and flounce. You’ll get there soon buddy.

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  2. the drunken watchman11 Aug 2018, 19:34:00

    Yes. Snowflake appears to not have read your post properly. Conflates pollution and littering.

    Same old liberal trick - punish the innocent majority on account of the (unpunished) guilty minority. Just another power-grab.

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  3. The problem is, plastic breaks down into microscopic particles that CAN be toxic to sea creatures. It does this in a variety of ways, all well-documented. Large plastics are litter; after about six months, it becomes a more difficult issue.

    Again, though, the solution IS NOT to violate the rights of folks in industrialized nations. It is to demand those nations dumping this stuff into the sea in tons per hour start respecting property rights.

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    1. Yeah, nah. It’s everyone’s problem. Global supply chains implicate the industrialised world. Good to see you’ve accepting there is a problem requiring collective action, and not just falling back on arguments from authority, especially when that authority is the hopelessly compromised Patrick Moore.

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    2. "Hopelessly compromised" -- meaning he's publicly stated that the environmental movement in general Greenpeace in particular (the organisation he co-founded) has "abandoned science and logic in favour of emotion and sensationalism."

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    3. No, meaning he’s in the pocket of industry players who pay his mortgage. Jesus, at least do your research before committing logical fallacies. And it’s libertarians who have abandoned logic in favour of religious tenets. Exhibit A: this post.

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    4. Saying "Its everyone's problem" is merely a way to hide from the facts. Until you look at the situation rationally--and that means acknowledging thatplatic pollution comes from some places and not others--you are doomed to fail at fixing the problem AND you will destroy lives in the process. You are a fool, one who is sabatoging any real progress in environmental remediation. Irrational means cannot achieve rational ends, period.

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    5. That is patently false, and I see you have resorted to the traditional libertarian redoubt of abuse. Stop flailing around. You have admitted the need for collective action, which in itself is quite a concession for you guys, so thank you for that. Western nations help cause the problem (fact) and suffer from it (fact) so need to assist with solutions. Pretty basic.

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    6. "Stop flailing around."

      I have not flailed. You have failed to address the points I have raised. I have NEVER said anything about "collective action", much less professed any belief about such action--those are words YOU have put in my mouth.

      You continue to ignore the basic facts that plastic pollution arises from some places and not others. You continue to lay the blame for this pollution on the heads of the one group of cultures that has REDUCED pollution in the past century. You ignore anything that doesn't support your narrative.

      Having a rational discussion with you is obviously impossible. Your posts are apparently intended to preach, not to discuss, and I lost all interest in being preached at when I left the Church.

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    7. You advocated collective action when you demanded that “those nations” (ie the poorest ones on earth) deal with the problem (your words) Not my fault if you can’t grasp the issue sufficiently to see that. And if you had had your way the group of “cultures” you say have reduced pollution would have done no such thing, as those reductions have been a consequence of collective action.

      And off you flounce.

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    8. He didn’t demand that those nations fix anything. He said that if getting a good result is what you want to achieve, then getting those nations to change their culture is what you must do. You can ask them politely, or demand it. Your choice. But you won’t achieve what you claim you want to achieve by banning single-use plastic bags in countries that have a throwaway culture.

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    9. That should read “don’t have...”

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    10. How does demanding culture change work? Sounds like a woefully ineffective policy intervention, but then I’m getting the impression you guys don’t have any solutions. I know, perhaps we could privatise the oceans and their contents! Yeah, let’s do that. Simple.

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    11. Exactly, Richard Wiig.

      If you want my opinion, the best way to get those nations currently dumping plastic in the ocean to stop is foreign investment. The reason they dump plastic into the oceans isn't that they are evil, it's because they're dirt poor. People forget that environmentalism is a luxury--you can only afford to do it when you have enough income to "waste" a big chunk of it. Poor countries don't have enough resources to do so.

      If corporations would export concepts like proper landfill construction to these countries, the overwhelming majority of plastic debris dumping would end. Or, if countries became affluent enough to care about environmental impacts their people would start to demand action. For that matter, if we could find something to do with the plastic waste it'd end--"waste" is an economic term, and anything that can be sold is no longer waste (saw this work in at least one manufacturing plant).

      One thing that will not and CANNOT work is increasing restrictions on a nation that dumps less than 5% of the ocean's plastic load into the ocean. It's like trying to attack cancer by cutting off a hangnail.

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    12. Ah capitalism! The same thing that gave us lead in petrol, CFC’s, climate change (yes, yes it’s a commie hoax) and plastic waste itself will magically solve the problem. I know skepticism of rampant freedom is apostasy in your religion, but you must see how ridiculous you are at times surely? No? No. And yet you mock transubstantiation.

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  4. Plastic doesn’t get into the waterways by itself — obviously someone is putting it there. Let’s take a look at council, waste management practices and so on.

    We should be asking * how * plastic bags are getting into the oceans. I suspect it is poor landfill practices.

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    1. Somewhat. The rewal issue is that the countries dumping plastic into the ocean have little to no "landfill practices". Those that do (USA, Europe, other firstr-world nations) simply do not contribute a significant amount of plastic waste.

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    2. Dinwar, you seem to be rather well versed in this, so I'd like to ask you a quick question: How much of the problem comes from First world countries dumping their plastic onto the highly polluting nations, eg. when countries like China are paid to take rubbish from NZ, ostensibly to recycle, but a lot of it ends up in rivers?

      Does this not hide the culpability of these "clean" countries by shifting the apparent source of pollution (or "litter", to play Peters' semantic games) to the poor countries?

      I seem to remember a while ago that there was quite some consternation (perhaps aiding in the ban) when China refused to take more plastic rubbish from NZ, stating that they have exceeded their recycling capacity.

      In short: How many plastic bags in Chinese rivers come from first world supermarkets? And is it enough that a ban in the first world might be required?

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    3. "How much of the problem comes from First world countries dumping their plastic onto the highly polluting nations, eg. when countries like China are paid to take rubbish from NZ, ostensibly to recycle, but a lot of it ends up in rivers?"

      Not much, from what I can tell--most of the problem appears to be related to production of materials. I'm not well-versed in NZ waste disposal, but in the USA at least the vast majority of plastic rubbish isn't shipped off, it's disposed of in domestic landfills.

      An argument can be made that we outsource production to these countries (iPads and the like), and that the associated pollution is therefore our responsibility--but I'm highly skeptical of that. The person who's guilty is the one who's got blood on their hands. While consumers should certainly be aware of the practices of those companies they buy from, it's the company's responsibility to behave in an ethical manner, including not dumping poison in the water.

      As for bans, they aren't a terribly effective method for dealing with these issues. Education, development of these countries, and providing the facilities to properly handle the trash--all things the companies should be doing to begin with--are the best ways to stop it. Pollution declines with increased affluence.

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