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BBC Future

60 Second Idea

Plastic prohibition proposed

Each week a global thinker from the worlds of philosophy, science, psychology or the arts is given a minute to put forward a radical, inspiring or controversial idea – no matter how improbable – that they believe would change the world.

This week historian David Abulafia proposes a day each year when we all vow not to touch anything made of plastic.

“We’ve heard of the stone age, the bronze age and the iron age. Well, now we live in the plastic age.

Let’s have a day each year when we all vow not to touch anything made of plastic.

Plastic is ruining the seas as it decomposes into globules, which are then ingested by fish which can’t digest it and die. Not to mention its effect on land as rubbish mountains are created in every country of the world.

A day without plastic would mean that citizens of Singapore and Australia couldn’t use money because their bank notes are printed on plastic. It would mean no credit cards. It would mean no credit cards or iPhones – there’s always plastic somewhere on the screen, the keyboard or the earphones. 

We’d have to use pencils, not biros for those of us who still write on paper.

 We’d have to refuse to use things wrapped in plastic.

And doing this just for one day would make us all aware of how much it intrudes into our lives.”

You can listen to David discuss his idea with port designer Marco Pluijm and Croatian novelist Dasa Drndic,in more detail on the BBC World Service programme The Forum, where you can also download more 60-second ideas.

If you have a 60-second idea or would like to comment on this story, head over to our Facebook page or message us on Twitter.

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