I caught part of a segment on NPR the other day about people who were complaining that their dishes were coming out of the dishwasher with spots and film and whatever. I was thinking they’ve joined the parade away from real news coverage to the softer, more digestible stuff.

As it turns out, dishwasher detergent makers have cut down on the amount of phosphates in their product. Good for the environment, bad for people who like sparkly clean dishes. Phosphates that make their way into lakes and other bodies of water have been known to cause algae blooms as well as the growth of other plants that choke out the rest of the aquatic life.

It’s also the active ingredient that cuts out all those nasty food stains and gets things clean.

I have no real sympathy for dishwasher users. They use way too much water and power for the sake of a little personal convenience.

Now a disclaimer. I own a dishwasher. I didn’t buy it. It came with the house. I only use it maybe twice a year when I have a lot of family over for one thing or another. Otherwise, it just sits there. The rest of the time I wash my dishes by hand, the old-fashioned way. The scrubbing is what gets the dishes clean though I’m not especially worried about that. In fact, I don’t think about it at all.

It should be noted that the detergent-makers didn’t exactly do this on their own initiative. Several states recently passed regulations to reduce the amount of phosphates, so they decided to do it across the board rather than selling one mix in one state and a different one in another. No matter. It seems to have done the trick.

One other thing caught my ear.

The lady who seemed to leading the charge against dirty dishes saw no reason to cut out phosphates, particularly if it meant spots on her good glassware. She was suspicious of the reason.

“I’m not convinced phosphorous causes algae.”

That was the last word. What can you say to that?

Just another example of how little credibility the scientific community has these days.

It points to another problem as well.

Asked if people want cleaner air, cleaner water, a better environment most everybody says yes. But if it causes the least bit of personal inconvenience, their attitude changes entirely.

How do we ovecome that?