Posted by: martinworster | May 19, 2009


An island of re-useable shopping bags has been found in the North Sea 140 miles east of Skegness. The flotilla of Tesco’s, Sainsbury’s and various other supermarket brands re-usable bags was found by a fisherman who alerted coast guards. While not quite as big as the Texas size island of plastic that was found in the Pacific north of the Hawaiian archipelago, the conglomeration still poses serious threats to the environment. Like the toxic island in the Pacific, the debris in the North Sea accumulated after being blown of mainland UK and gathered where coastal currents converge. “I even saw a gull trapped with the handles of a hemp bag wrapped around his legs,” the fisherman said.


This could happen right? I mean we’re told not to use plastic bags anymore and it’s not hard to grasp the rationale behind it, but I bet like me, many of you have replaced the bags of plastic at home with equally large sacks of hemp and cloth bought from the major grocery chains? It’s like a lot of things we do to help protect the environment – it’s sometimes hard not to feel defeatest with our actions? Okay, I’ll limit long haul flights and keep EasyJet fuelled Euro weekend jaunts to one a year but is anyone else? I’ve bought a Hybrid car does that mean it’s going to help when every Chinese and Indian middle class family has two cars? I cycle when I can – but no-one else is judging from what I see on the roads around here? And yes, I always use re-useable bags, but has anyone done any research into how much energy is used to actually make these bags, surely more than to make a little plastic bag. And still, when I buy all my fruit and veg, those still come in little plastic bags which will eventually blow away and end up in some threatened eco-system somewhere. Why don’t we use re-useable mini cloth bags for those items? And yes, I take my purchases home in the re-useable cloth bag but the purchases inside are all vacuum packed in plastic. Why hasn’t a scientist somewhere worth his salt developed a plastic like material that quickly decomposes with no harm to the environment?


I will continue to do my best. I know – every little bit helps. You have to start some where, blah blah. But it feels like I’m pissing into the wind – and there’s not even an electricity generating turbine in sight.


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