A not-very-subtle merging of two themes today, and, just in case you’re wondering, it’s not a typo. Forgive me for the mangling, it’s Friday.
You may have heard that the Republic of Congo has decided to ban the production, import, sale and use of polythene bags, as they are hazardous to our environment. Rwanda did the same thing five years ago and other countries have since moved to either ban or limit their use, including Italy quite recently.
In 2002, Bangladesh enforced a ban after it was found that discarded plastic bags had exacerbated the severe flooding of 1988 and 1998 which had submerged two-thirds of the country. The damn things, a by-product of crude oil, were and still are choking drainage systems, as they have quite literally been shown to choke cows in India, gannets in Scotland and marine life in all our oceans, resulting in declining populations of species such as the sea turtle, which tragically mistakes the flimsy bags for jelly fish. That same year, Ireland introduced a tax which was hailed by environmentalists and hissed at
by people too selfish, precious, idle, vain and/or mean to purchase and carry inexpensive, re-usable bags in equal measure, yet the levy did result in a vast reduction of the number of bags used – by some ninety per cent.
The second topic: Desert Island Discs. Today’s your last chance to nominate your eight favourites. Listeners’ choices are to be revealed in a BBC Radio 4 special on Saturday 11 June, which everyone can hear online. You have just half an hour to submit yours, as no further entries will be considered after 2pm (UK).
One thing I’d never considered before, because separating eight songs from the hundreds of others that I hold dear is in itself a difficult task, is that spoken word tracks and commentary are also acceptable selections for your desert island needs. So I wonder which commentary you’d elect to hear should you ever find yourself cast away and longing for something to trigger fond memories. The Berlin Wall coming down? Nelson Mandela finally freed from prison? Margaret Thatcher leaving Downing Street for the very last time (in tears)? All such happy times.
But being both a cynic and a grump, and having already asked for your song choices – in 2008 and again in 2010 – (which I would expect to vary on an almost day-to-day basis anyway, so do fire off the eight tunes that are most significant at this precise moment in time if you wish) I thought I’d be particularly interested in the eight things that you’d like to ban, along with wicked polythene bags.
How about snotty-nosed children – and their inconsiderate parents, for that matter – who aren’t taught to put their hands over their mouths when they cough or sneeze (or to do so into their shoulders, better still) in public places and splutter and snort their horrid little germs everywhere, making innocent passers-by ill and very, very unhappy about it? Grrrr.
I also mentally noted what I anticipate to be some of the eight ‘discs’ most likely to crop up when BBC Radio 4 announce the results next weekend. If ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon and Kenneth Wolstenholme’s famous commentary from the close of the 1966 World Cup final between England and West Germany aren’t included, I’ll be very surprised indeed. Which do you expect will be included?
Once you’ve thought about all that and made the world a better place, if only in your mind, if you’ve still got busy fingers (and on the condition that you wash them first), the chatroom will be open to all the thoughts and choices that you couldn’t fit onto the BBC’s strict form in time – from 4pm (UK).
Have a phlegm-free weekend, everyone.