Then there are the plastic bottles and plastic bags. The floods were inevitable: after nine hours of heavy rain, plus overflow from three different dams, there was just too much water. Yet we can't deny that litter--a great deal of it plastic designed to be disposable--has clogged up much of the city's drainage system.
(Then again, a part of me wonders: The city has a drainage system??? I find I am no longer as inclined to blame litter--or the litterbugs--for clogged pipes. There are other ways to ruin a city.)
Not that there's any way to get around plastic. The material is as lightweight as it is durable. Imagine the same thousands of gallons of donated water in glass bottles, how much more care would have to be taken with them, and how much heavier they would be. Imagine stuffing a hodgepodge of groceries into paper bags, knotting them closed, and piling them in a corner on the floor. Glass would break and paper would be vulnerable to the damp. Plastic may not be pretty, but it is practical. Say what you like against it, but it passes the Charity Test: whatever is not against us, is with us.
The task we have now is to figure out how to live with it.
Saturday, October 03, 2009
Supertyphoons and the chaos of charity
Please keep the people of the Phillipines in your prayers as they brace for another "supertyphoon" this weekend. And keep reading Sancta Sanctis for news from the ground and beautiful reflections on the often-frustrating but always sanctifying nature of charity in the face of great disasters.