Talking to fishermen in the touristic region of Nilaveli, I explained the danger of plastic and tried to increase their awareness about the fact that fish eat plastic particulates covered with toxins. They fully understood the issue and were all ready to clean the beach as often as necessary, asking me if I could collect that plastic to have it recycled.
Thinking in terms of recycling plastic, however, is not the way to go as it justifies and trivializes the consumption of plastic. I invited them to drastically reduce their consumption of plastics, especially single-use plastics.
After a moment of silence, one young father nearly crying looked at me saying: “Do you mean that when my daughter asks for a bottle of soda, I should not buy it for her? . . . How is she going to look at me?”
Our logical brain understands, but our emotional brain knows that consumerism is the easiest way to release stress. Even if it is for a few seconds, seeing one’s daughter drinking a sweet, artificially coloured and flavoured soda in a plastic bottle and looking so happy, is the best moment of the day.