Tue | Dec 12, 2017

Before plastic ruled the roost

Published:Monday | September 25, 2017 | 11:09 PM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

One must say a big 'thank you' to the many volunteers who periodically relieve our beach environment of the plethora of plastics and other refuse.

Viewing the many photos of clean-ups, it is quite hard to believe that, at one time, within the memory of many of us, there were NO PLASTIC BOTTLES, plastic plates, plastic cutlery, plastic cups or styrofoam containers in Jamaica! In fact, we managed very well without the plastics.

Children went to school with 'thermos flask' of beverage. We drank out of enamel or ceramic cups and ate fresh fruit and sandwiches wrapped in 'wax' paper. Beverages were made from fresh limes or sour oranges and sweetened with brown sugar. Cooks went to market with locally made straw baskets and 'crocus bags'. Bread came from the bakery wrapped in brown paper and stores wrapped purchases in brown paper bags.

Milk came in returnable glass 'milk bottles' with cardboard lids. All glass bottles were returnable for credit and recycled. All vegetable peelings were returned to the soil in the vegetable garden. Leftovers were fed to 'de fowl dem'. Paper and dried leaves were burned in a small pit. Baby diapers were made of 'bird's eye cotton', washed and dried in the sun.

Few people were overweight, as they were not guzzling the quantity of highly sugared soft drinks. Therefore, diabetes and hypertension were rare. Drinking water came out of the pipe and was boiled, if necessary. There was very little household garbage and very few mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases. In fact, Jamaica managed to eradicate malaria.

Now we are drowning in gullies full of garbage and destroying our environment in the process. Where did we go wrong?

E. MARILYN DUFF