USE LESS plastic over Lent. This is the message from the Anglican Communion’s Environment Network (ACEN).
They have produced a set of daily challenges, which include going for large sizes of shampoo or conditioner, requesting retailers to use zero plastic packaging if you’re buying clothes online and implementing a ‘no more bottled water and cool drinks’ water policy at church and home.
The table can be downloaded from the Green Anglicans website.
The Environmental Co-ordinator for the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Canon Rachel Mash, called attention to the fact that worldwide only 10 – 13 per cent of plastic items are recycled.
“The nature of petroleum-based disposable plastic makes it difficult to recycle and they have to add new virgin materials and chemicals to it to do so. Additionally there are a limited number of items that recycled plastic can be used,” Canon Mash explained.
“Petroleum-based plastic is not biodegradable and usually goes into a landfill where it is buried or it gets into the water and finds its way into the ocean. Although plastic will not biodegrade – decompose into natural substance like soil – it will degrade – break down – into tiny particles after many years,” she added.
“In the process of breaking down, it releases toxic chemicals – additives that were used to shape and harden the plastic – which make their way into our food and water supply. These toxic chemicals are now being found in our bloodstream,” she said.
The Moderator and Primate of the United Church of South India, Bishop Thomas K Oomen, endorsed the message, saying that ‘If we live a life committed to avoiding all kinds of disposable plastics, the manufacturers would be forced to avoid all disposable plastics, and thus we would be contributing towards a lesser carbon footprint’.
“If Lent is a time we think upon how to foster life, rather than destroying life, it is our spiritual commitment to avoid plastics since it ‘kills’ life. As I hope that this year’s Lent would be a meaningful time to reflect, repent, reorient and rededicate our lives to accomplish God’s will, I ardently pray that God would enable all of us to continue our life in an eco-spiritual pilgrimage fighting against all causes of ecological catastrophes, particularly the disposable plastic catastrophe,” he added.