Wed | Jul 28, 2021

The more things change: plastic to paper

Published:Thursday | December 27, 2018 | 12:00 AM


I note that we are now being advised to stop using single-use plastic bags, styrofoam boxes and plastic straws and starting using paper products instead.

I remember as a child in the 1950s, we used paper bags, wrapping paper, and many other products made from wood pulp or recycled paper. The environmentalists, local and foreign, echoed by the Government, advised that too many trees around the world were being cut down, especially in the rainforest, to produce paper products. Plastic was brought in to rescue the environment.

Now it's an about-turn. I am not sure there are enough trees left in the world to supply the needs. Certainly not in Jamaica, where government officials, certain environmentalists and persons with fat pockets, are cutting down the trees, particularly in our watershed areas, to build large palaces and concrete parking lots for multiple vehicles. What are we going to do now?

Incidentally, I recently heard the head of the National Solid Waste Management Authority on radio advising the public that they can use paper cardboard boxes to put out their garbage for collection. I have tried this before. When the rain falls, which is almost daily in some areas, the boxes get soaked and soft. When the garbage collector lifts it, it falls apart, with all the garbage falling on the ground and the road.

The collector will scrape up some, but a lot is left on the ground and washed into the gutters. In any event, the collectors would not be able to clean up everything and still complete their route on time. So wheel and come again!

Keith Patrick