Saturday, October 26, 2019

The Plastic Problem by Rachel Salt

Rachel Salt is the head writer for the YouTube channel, AsapSCIENCE, a highly accessible science channel that is kind of like what Bill Nye the Science Guy was for the tech-savvy, 21st century audience. I'm a huge fan of the channel and I'm also trying to make more environmentally friendly choices, so even though THE PLASTIC PROBLEM is a book for children, I still wanted to read it.

THE PLASTIC PROBLEM is a short book, and presents itself in a graphic-heavy format that is a lot like a child's textbook. It talks about what plastic is, how it's made, what it's found in, and what some of the long- and short-term environmental repercussions of plastic are, whether it's killing wildlife who eat it by mistake or by degrading into small pieces known as micro- and nanoplastics, that get into the bodies of humans and animals.

Plastic is not really that sustainable. The people who make plastic products in factories are susceptible to toxic fumes that might cause cancer and, in some cases, can actually change their DNA. Some plastics cannot be reused and end up in the trash. Many people do not know how to recycle plastic properly, even if they put it in the correct bin, and that, too, can end up in the trash. People consume products with too much packaging, impulsively buy things that they don't need that won't last, and sometimes make choices that they think are helping but are actually hurting (like buying polyester canvas bags).

At the end of the chapter, the book offers some solutions to children who would like to reduce their ecological footprint. Participating in programs that offer and then reclaim reusable packaging (the milkman model), buying things to last and reducing consumption, and participating in clean-up and recycling programs are all potential opportunities that kids can do to help make the world a healthier place. I grew up in the age of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle as a kid, as well as the DARE program, but like DARE, RRR was never really fully fleshed out to us as kids, and we didn't really understand what the call to action was, or even what we were really supposed to do.

This book gives a pretty good explanation of the problem, as well as what the solution(s) might look like. It would make an excellent classroom or library resource and I hope a lot of kids read it.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!  

4 out of 5 stars

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