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Single Use Plastic

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Usually we like to blog about the positive (and pretty) side of our travel be it where we stayed, who we met or how we were treated. As the discussion of single use plastic becomes more common in the media, we felt obliged to share our views based on what we’ve seen.

The Culture of Packaging

In China (and perhaps the world), packaging is really important usually leading to a higher price tag. Now we understand why it was always expensive to buy moon cakes in New Zealand as they are excessively packaged in a plastic shell, sealed in a bag, and then encased in a tin box. They are shiny alright – every fruit individually cling wrapped for presentation and to keep clean

Out of sight, out of mind but right into the stomach

One day cycling towards Chaka Salt Lake we noticed two donkeys on the side of the road so stop to take some photos. They were grazing the land for food as most farm animals do. We snacked on a pear each and offered the cores to the donkeys, but then saw something extremely disheartening. One donkey picked a plastic bag and munched it all up. Not only was that bad, that poor animal will be on the menu in the near future too.

Donkey meat anyone?

A common sight here in China where drivers toss out freely from their window. Beautiful spot right? The rubbish has been left out of frame for our viewers pleasure

Camping at the Park

One day we camped at a public park which included the usual exercise equipments and basketball court. However, after scouting for a suitable spot, we gave the grass a miss because it had broken glasses everywhere. We were further shocked to see the children that came to visit and chat to us, go play on the grass where all the glass bottles are sitting! At least on the concrete we can sweep the ground of glass and rubbish

Positive Development

The government is trying hard to encourage the population to take responsibility of their rubbish. Propaganda posters along the highway usually say things like…Green mountains and clear water is more valuable than gold and silver Look after the environment so there’s greenery for everyone Don’t throw rubbish, everyone is responsible for it Some towns have provided on street bins, to the point where there was one every 20 meters!

Despite the governments attempts to create social change it appears they are not winning the fight. Not even close. We have seen rivers clogged with plastics, people emptying rubbish into the river from a bridge despite a skip being provided close by. We have often witnessed the highway cleaners picking up rubbish and throwing it further from the road usually into agricultural land or closer to the river. The excessive use of plastic is also being used in fields just poking holes through to add the plants. It seems that this plastic may then eventually be ploughed into the soil once the crop has finished. We can all do our part in eliciting social change when it comes to single use plastics. Don’t forget reduce, reuse and recycle. Embrace the movement away from single use plastics, provide pressure and support for a total ban. Be a leader and set good examples next time you enter the stores.

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