Advocating for a “Plastic-Free” Soup

This picture taken on May 3, 2018 shows workers collecting garbage, mostly plastic in Phnom Penh. Photo by TANG CHHIN Sothy / AFP

I love beef noodle soup.

I sometimes buy it with the idea of savoring it quietly at home.

The saleslady puts it in a big plastic bag.

In that big bag made of plastic, there are lots of small bags, also made of plastic.

One contains the broth.

A second one, the pieces of meat. 

A third one, the soy sauce

A fourth one, the noodles

A fifth one, the aromatic herbs

A sixth one, the sauces

And then, there is a small box that contains the chili peppers. The box is also made of plastic.

Finally, since one does not eat soup with one’s fingers, there is a spoon. A plastic one.

Once we have finished emptying all the bags in the bowl and the soup is finally ready, we are left with a pile of small plastic bags that we throw out in the plastic garbage bag.

Then, before swallowing the first spoonful of this piping hot soup that smells so good, we start feeling rather uneasy. 

Because we know perfectly well where all those bags will end up. In the ocean. This will take some time, but this is where they will eventually be floating. 

They will choke the fish and, one day, we too will be choking.

I cannot reproach the seller of this soup. She packs it this way so that her customers can savor all its flavors. Maybe she is not aware of all the damage to the environment caused by these plastic bags. But maybe she doesn’t care. 

We see on a regular basis plastic waste collections organized by some good souls.

Wouldn’t it be simpler to plainly prohibit the import of those single-use, food-related plastic bags?  

To attack the problem at its roots in a manner of speaking. And to rediscover the simple pleasure of a “plastic free” bowl of soup. 

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