Plastic: The epitome of a disposable society
03/14/2018 // Tracey Watson // Views

There are many environmentalists around the globe who are gravely concerned about the amount of plastic being dumped in our oceans. It seems that people in general just can’t be bothered to try to do something about the problem, and something that was once a useful commodity has now become a dangerous hazard.

The truth is, though, that the irresponsible dumping of plastic is just a symptom of a much greater societal problem. If one single image had to be chosen to portray modern society, it would likely be a picture of a garbage can. Quite simply, we live in a society where everything from marriage to employment is viewed as disposable.

Why should we expect people to make serious attempts to curb the dumping of trash and toxic chemicals in our oceans when something as fundamentally important as the family unit is viewed as disposable? (Related: How shaky are the foundations of society? Discover the answers at

A recent report by EcoWatch cited a study by Professor Edward Kosior, a plastics and rubber expert with the organization Nextek, which noted that around 72 percent of all plastic is not recovered or recycled, at least 8 million tons of which ends up in our oceans each year. With over 150 million tons of plastic in the oceans right now, unless drastic steps are taken there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050.

Many governments and organizations have vowed to do whatever it takes to reverse the situation, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which promised to “prevent, reduce and control pollution” by taking the following steps:


Measures shall include, inter alia, those designed to minimise to the fullest possible extent ... the release of toxic, harmful or noxious substances, especially those which are persistent, from land-based sources … [and] shall include those necessary to protect and preserve rare or fragile ecosystems as well as the habitat of depleted, threatened or endangered species and other forms of marine life.

The problem is, while these organizations may have good intentions, enforcing these measures is virtually impossible, and very little has been done by individual countries to improve the situation.

And, as already noted, this is hardly surprising in a society where nothing is viewed as permanent, sacred or worth fighting for. With good reason, we are known as “the throwaway generation.”

Take, for example, the once sacred institution of marriage – the core unit of our society. (Related: Total thought control – California democrats introduce bill to ban "husband" and "wife" as "outdated" and "biased.")

The American Psychological Association (APA) reports that divorce is as common an occurrence as marriage. Nonetheless, marriage is psychologically good, healthy and necessary:

Healthy marriages are good for couples’ mental and physical health. They are also good for children; growing up in a happy home protects children from mental, physical, educational and social problems. However, about 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce. The divorce rate for subsequent marriages is even higher.

But what about the children who never even get to experience the security and stability of having married parents because their folks split up or never bother to get married? notes that between the 1970s and early 2000s the number of women who were married before the birth of their first child dropped by 50 percent.

“It's been a record transformation,” said Dr. Jonathan Vespa, Ph.D., a demographer with the U.S. Census Bureau.

And there’s no such thing as a lifelong job with a secure pension at the end for the throwaway generation. (Related: Lacking any real job skills, broke millennials are now donating blood plasma as a routine source of income.) reported:

This is not your father’s job market. Long gone are the company lifers from yesteryear who spent their entire careers in a single position within a single company. Today, we’re living in an age of job promiscuity, where regularly changing jobs is not just tolerated, but encouraged. [Emphasis added]

All things considered, in a society where nothing is sacred, and anything and anyone can be chucked away at a moment’s notice, the dumping of trash in our oceans is probably far from being our most serious problem.

Read for more coverage of pollution impacts.

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