Brooklyn Boro

Coral Springs, Florida, and Brooklyn have something in common

April 19, 2021 William A. Gralnick
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Twice now, I believe, the Eagle has run stories on what I’ll call “the plastic parks.” There was a time when plastic was new, different, and interesting. I remember when I traded in my iron GI Joe (would that I had kept him!) for the new plastic model that moved in ways Joe #1 couldn’t. The whole toy industry was revolutionized. In reality so was the whole world. It is one thing to know that Legos is a privately owned company; it is another to know that it will be centuries from now before the very first Lego decomposes into whatever. That whatever will not be good for whomever is alive then. It is disconcerting that my grandson has well over 10,000 Lego pieces! Plastic must be stopped; it is killing us.

With that opening, I’ve decided for once in a blue moon to make this space memorable in a different way. Read on.

Two towns, one near the bottom of the east coast, another about halfway up. One subtropical, one not close. One where a Florida Cracker twang can still be heard, the other, “Fuggedaboutit!” Yet they have in common a major problem not being addressed nearly fast enough: plastic.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

In Coral Springs, a small, Broward County bedroom community nestled west of Fort Lauderdale where most come and go to work in the town from West Palm Beach to Miami, the county announced they can no longer recycle paper–there’s way too much of it.  Plastic, as you’ll read, is not just next, it is now. Coral Springs as a convenient example has the pedestrian problem of what do you do with all that stuff.

As for Brooklyn, anyone from there can tell you, strange things are its hallmark. It always was and probably always will be. Remember that saying, “If you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn?” Believe it or not there was a con man who actually sold fake deeds to the bridge, He even opened an “office” on the bridge right after it was opened to the public to sell shares in it. Truth.

Like most places with millions of people, Brooklyn has myriad problems. The issue today is plastic. The small details aren’t important. I’ll gloss over them. The Governor of New York approved plans for a large park in a poor neighborhood. Its fixtures and structures would be covered in plastic. From the air, the model makes the park look like Legoland. The neighborhood is in an uproar. Some are angry because the neighborhood needs a lot more than a park and needs it way before it needs a park. Seems reasonable. The others are yelling because the park is named after a transgender activist. That complaint seems not so reasonable. But worst of all, no one seems to be complaining about the plastic, which is what they should be complaining about, as should you.

Hi! I’ll be with you forever!

Plastic is bad stuff. It is made with natural things including carbon, which is bad stuff. The atoms of these multiple substances are bonded together into polymers. What you should know about polymers is their atoms are very heavy. That’s what makes them bad stuff. Aside from the obvious uses, plastic is found in a stunning amount of substances like medicine and makeup. Here are a few more.

  • Chewing gum
  • Aluminum cans
  • Glass jars with lids
  • Glitter
  • Produce stickers at the market

No plastic? Guess again

I could go on. On “The Plastics Make It Possible” website the first thing you see is a beautiful woman standing in front of a chalk board with impossible chemical equations on it. Just like with car ads, when you see such a woman—be suspicious.

The amount of plastic that is disposed of annually is staggering. The average American disposes of 185 pounds of plastic a year. We make one million plastic bottles a day and we throw away 22 billion water bottles a day!  Ten million tons of plastic is thrown into the ocean every year. By a six to one margin there is more plastic in the ocean than marine life. It won’t surprise you then that every species of sea turtle has plastic in its system. This all from Riddle, a UK website.

The rate at which plastic accumulates is mind-blowing as is the problem of what to do with it. If we are good people we throw our plastic jugs, water bottles, wrappings etc into our blue recycle bins and feel good about ourselves. NPR’s Sunshine Report reported  that most much of what we think is being recycled is not, like plastic. The problem is that recycling altogether is a financially losing proposition. Thus, we usually send it somewhere out of the country to another country that has lots of empty space. For them it is not a losing proposition. They bury it or throw it on top of their garbage dumps. Much of our recycling used to go to China. Unfortunately, in the Trump Trade Tiff with China, China told us what we could do with our trash so instead of the pollution going from China to here for the next while it will reverse itself.

And where do you think we’ll go?

What’s the big deal? Well, there is this, plastic kills. There is a dead zone in the ocean the size of a small state. It’s plastic. The amount of plastic we dispose of annually, which in dollars is over 11 billion, can ring the globe four times. The microballs that go into makeup? They are ingested by fish by the billions. Eventually the fish die. Our rivers and streams are backed up with water bottles.\

Swim anyone?

Let me leave you with this. According to “Trash Travels” it takes a plastic bag 20 years to decompose. A plastic bottle? 450 years! Fishing line? 600 years.And here’s the kicker. Plastic never completely decomposes. That means that some remnant of every piece of plastic that was ever produced is still with us and will be for eternity.

You want something to yell about? Yell about plastic. The planet needs you to. Every-so-often a topic comes along that is flat out shocking. This is one that “demands” attention. So, pay it some.

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  1. Sara Gronim

    So here’s something everyone can do: tell our Congressional delegation to support the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act that is now before Congress. It will put the responsibility for dealing with plastic waste back on the manufacturers, give us a uniform 10-cent national plastic bottle refund, phase out certain single-use plastic items (like drink stirrers), and prevent our plastic waste from being shipped overseas. Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, Representatives Nadler, Velazquez, Maloney, Clarke, Jeffries, and Malliotakis: Pass the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act!