The plastic boat in this photo is used to maintain the Northampton & District model boat club pond. As Heather Korby, who submitted the image for the PLASTIC theme in our Sharing Nature Project, says, it has an environmental function in removing blanket weed and retrieving lost boats. It’s perfect for the job – lightweight, long-lasting and easy to maintain.
It’s made of plastic but this boat is actually enhancing our experience of nature. Maybe we could argue that it should be replaced by a wooden boat, but is it fair to expect the model boat club to purchase and maintain something more costly and less practical? Maybe they would have to have fewer boats, maybe the pond would not get cleared so often?
Some decisions like cutting back on plastic shopping bags and recycling are easy to make, others are more complicated - because plastics also make our lives better in so many ways.
Once plastic micro-particles and fibres get into the environment they can release toxins and contaminants into the food chain. Where do these micro-particles come from? The same report says that “each cycle of a washing machine could release 700,000 fibres into the environment”. Does this mean I should give up my fleece jackets?