Trans-substantial Catholics

Watch this. What are the priests doing? Catholic Litmus Test If you are Catholic, then I hope for the sake of your soul you said he is welcoming Christ bodily into the world. If you didn’t you aren’t looking too […]

Poor Hanno

According to the pop-psychologist-pseudo-science writer Malcolm Gladwell in his magnum lite-opus, the Tipping Point we as a species need risk takers. Individuals who are willing to put it all on the line in pursuit of a goal will, if they […]

Intelligence and Happiness?

A while ago, the Inquisition pondered the nature of intelligence, and whether a certain outlook or attendant mental abilities are guides to or from happiness. This has been obliquely in the news of late…

Buried by the Sea

Its odd. Most graveyards in Connemara appear to be near water, if not actually right on the coast. Why? West Galway, or Connemara, has a lot of unused space. Admittedly, much of the land Connemara is industrially and agriculturally useless, […]

Cycling Two Abreast

Cycling two abreast in Ireland is legal, a protected practice, and it is safer.

Indoors / Outdoors (Defuse)

A talk given by The Inquisition at Defuse, on Wednesday 7th November 2012, as part of Designweek in Dublin, Ireland

Nürnburg’s Extra Bombs

Nürnburg got ripped to shreds by Bomber Harris’ boys. By how much appears to be open to debate.

Law & Morality

The preface to HLA Hart’s publication of his 1961 lecture series on the meeting of law and morality is as prevalent today as it ever was.

Foy – The Bodiless Head

A bodiless head is revered as being Saint Foy, who died a cruel death.

Coffee Haters

There are people out there who pretend to like coffee. Coffee Haters – you have been warned.

False Flags 2

False flag, covert ops by Americans against Americans? Sounds crazy, and so it was deemed.

Plastic 55 Years Ago

55 years ago Roland Barthes considered the importance of plastic and what it meant, as a substance and a symbol.

Cesare Borgia’s Party

The Pope, his son and fifty prostitutes – Cesare Borgia’s party.

Marriage – A Potted History

Marriage is thought by many to be a fixed rite, one which is immovable and inflexible. The truth is that it has not always seemed so…

Blinking Morse

The world was shocked when a victim of torture started blinking morse. The story of a US aviator captured in Vietnam.


Synecdoche is a powerful, expressive linguistic device

The Inquisition by Ronan McDonnell - Contents Page
The Inquisition by Ronan McDonnell - Semper Quarens - Always Looking


Photo taken by Flickr User Fabi Fliervoet on June 17, 2009 in Welgelegen, St. Maarten, AN and used under a creative commons licence.

Photo taken by Flickr User Fabi Fliervoet on June 17, 2009 in Welgelegen, St. Maarten, AN and used under a creative commons licence.

The Bad News

Plastic is undoubtedly the most ubiquitous manufactured material in our immediate environment today and we are all aware of its potential for polluting. We are, however, largely unaware of this beyond crisp packets blowing past us on a street, landfills with nappies/diapers everywhere or illegally dumped black bags by rural roadsides. Plastic is everywhere so beyond the computer you are reading this on which is itself largely plastic, as are the packaging, manufacturing and transportation methods that brought it to you. We ought to consider it beyond these familiar boundaries.

Plastics are being broken down and contaminating even the most remote and foreign environments. We are taught that plastic bad because it takes thousands of years to break down. This is not the case in oceans where soft plastic doesn’t just remain intact, but is broken down rapidly, releasing toxins. Fish contain actual plastics and their related chemicals. Whale and bird carcasses are seen worldwide with their stomachs full of plastic causing the animal to stop eating and eventually die. It has chemically contaminated entire food chains from the bottom up.

Discarded plastic results in both a tangible pollution and invisible contaminants. Plastic is a product of fossil fuels, making it a pollutant in its constructed nature but also its production.

The Not-so-bad News

It’s not all bad. Our world would not be possible without hygenic medical practice, effective agricultural practice, high-tech modern textiles and manufacturing all of which depend on cheap disposable plastics. Think of single-use syringes, polytunnel construction, cheap nylon sacking, your precious smartphone, your bicycle, your lovely dashboard and most of the rest of your car interior. Without plastic how would you get your shampoo? Plastics can even be very cuddly, as in almost any teddy bear, but they can be seductively cozy too while being responsibly produced.

Imagine how little food there would be in your local supermarket without air-proof wrapping, refrigeration and bags to carry it all home. The tins you buy are lined with phthalates and other synthetics. The shelves would look much less appealing without those tantalising glimpses of tasty goods through transparent wrapping.

The issue of its disposal still remains the same; plastic is dependent, in its most common forms, on fossil fuel production which is finite. So why not recycle?

See Capt. Charles Moore describe vast areas of oceanic pollution below, from TED:

The Canaries in the Mine – update

Almost two years after the Inquisition published this piece, Wired Magazine, who have always been ahead of the curve on the issue of plastic waste, published an article on seabirds being the alarm bells that pollution has gone too far.

This article was posted by on Monday, November 15th, 2010 at 01:26.
It is archived in Culture, Deepsea, Environment, Health, Science, Travel, Wild Places and tagged , , , , , , , .

3 Responses to Plastics

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