New Zealand is not as clean or green as we think – plastic waste is creating a crisis | Lizzy Carmine

New Zealand is not as clean or green as we think – plastic waste is creating a crisis | Lizzy Carmine

Ignorance about plastic recycling has tricked us into guilt-free consumption – decision makers have to give us sustainable options

Growing up my school lunches were covered in plastic wrapping, like those of many of my schoolmates. I was taught from a young age to pick up my rubbish and recycle, and I trusted the recycling systems in place especially because New Zealand streets were so clean. Years later, I saw a video on Facebook of a turtle with a straw in its nose, but I knew Kiwis weren’t to blame, our rubbish systems were too sturdy. Ignorance is bliss, and ignorance is the cause of the world’s plastic pollution crisis.

The illusion was shattered for me when I watched For The Blue, a documentary by Project Blue, a group of young ocean enthusiasts from Aotearoa, who travelled across the globe to investigate the world’s plastic-waste crisis – only to find themselves back in clean, green New Zealand experiencing the effects of the global plastic epidemic in their own back yard. During their visit to a once pristine area in the South Island, they found plastic trash strewn across the land, after the Fox river breached a closed landfill on its banks.

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