Dangerous plastics have escaped our consciousness so I put them in my novel

You don’t need a university degree to understand that plastics — or other synthetic concoctions mankind came up with in the past 100 years — are polluting the planet. On the African continent bushes are decorated by millions of white plastic bags from supermarkets. Wildlife in the oceans is dying in certain places. Many life forms (including humans) have accumulated poisonous materials inside their bloodstream.

The latest addition seems to be the existence of plastic islands floating on the seas. Even if these are not islands you can walk on but merely patches of floating miniscule plastic remains, they are bad new on the whole.

But while we are fighting our economic woes and more physical forms of violence including plane crashes and the unspeakable horrors of terrorism, plastic seems to have drifted towards the outer rim of the public’s consciousness.

This image courtesy of Green Living Tips. Support their cause at greenlivingtips.co.za.

This image courtesy of Green Living Tips. Support their cause at greenlivingtips.co.za. No copyright infringement intended.

I’ve never stopped being worried about the emergence of this worldwide pollution. I once read an interview with a biologist who proclaimed that human flesh is unfit for consumption due to all these toxics inside us. It was only a matter of time before I’d put it in one of my novels.

My novels’ hero, “radio detective” and business radio talk show host Carl Pappas, has a habit of speaking out against abuse of people or the planet. In his 4th adventure, “Acid Asset” (a short crime fiction novel) he meets Dr. Zschopau, an old scientist who once crossed the Iron Curtain and now lives hidden in the West. An old invention of his has fallen in the hands of a greedy corporation. You might say being greedy is a matter of opinion; perhaps they just want to make a living. More important is the fact that his invention is potentially a lethal threat to the planet. The stuff is stacked away somewhere and Pappas joins the old, amiable scientist in his quest to render the synthetic invention harmless.

I wish I could do more. I admit I’m way too busy staying put in the EU economy. Way too busy writing and publishing my novels. Way too busy to stand in the street and shout abuse. We had holes in the ozone layer in the 1980s and were concerned for a while; now they seem to have vanished. In a way, what should be good news (holes in the ozone layer can eventually threaten everything) is retrospectively bad news, because many people drew the conclusion that the environment is not in that bad a shape after all.

We seem to need bad news, otherwise we’d just go on the way we always have. Do you skip these particular items that threaten your daily dose of tranquility? Like polyvinyl choride, that sips from plastic shower curtains or children’s toys into your body? Or polystyrene and polycarbonate in the form of food containers? It takes a radical change of lifestyle too avoid everything toxic from entering your body and from further planetary pollution.

But I’m like most other people: we want to change, but in the hassle of daily life you hurriedly grab what’s near in the supermarket. I firmly believe in the powers that be to deal with this. The people who work for us, governments and big corporations, need to change in order to get everybody else to follow. This can be achieved through voting and through signing petitions and by joining boycotts. There should be more boycotts, if you ask me.

I dream of my imaginary hero Carl Pappas coming to life like a modern times Pinocchio and ride the radio waves like a true warrior, speaking out for all of us. That’s too much to expect, but then again, you expect an author to dream up new realities, don’t you?

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ACID ASSET
Available as ebook on the Amazon Kindle ISBN 978-94-91908-00-2
Available as paperback in the Amazon Store ISBN 978-94-91908-01-9
Published by Vibes in 2013

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