"Over there" always becomes "right here"
Driving into work today Stephen Grootes interviewed Professor Leslie Petrik from the University of the Western Cape. She was talking about the high concentration of pharmaceuticals in False Bay. Basically, people are flushing down unused medication and it is ending up in the sea—the discharge strategy from the City of Cape Townis another subject entirely—and then being absorbed by a variety of marine life (some of which ends up being eaten by people).
In modern life, we happily take unwanted stuff—food, plastic, medicine, broken iPhone charging cables, etc.—and just trash it. Our view of the world is that this stuff will go away.
The problem is, nothing goes away forever. The medicines we dump are now in the shellfish we eat. Similarly the plastic we throw away becomes a plankton of microplastic and are in the food we eat and the water we drink.
In fact, it has been recently found that — in addition to the toll on nature — microplastic is now finding its way into our bloodsteam.
Whenever we "chuck" something away, it is never gone. It is just on its, slow or fast, journey finding its way back to us.