by Shefali Gautam
‘’What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.’’- Jane Goodall
So the elephant is in the room and we all are comfortably ignoring his presence. Do you know that there is no Planet B? Have you ever thought what future you are going to give your children? Do you stand up to people who litter? Do you have an answer to these questions? NO or maybe! Just because you wanted to sip some juice, you ain’t allowed to hurt the marine life. Yes, July is over, but plastic-free living has to stay forever!
Climate change is for real and we cannot shut our eyes to it. According to the NASA website, the current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 per cent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over decades to millennia. This is our planet, and today it has become a challenge for us to protect it! Environmental protection and conservation require human discipline powered by innovation and technological solutions.
Plastic pollution is a burning issue in today’s time. For more than 50 years now, global production and consumption of plastics are unremittingly rising. Approx. 692,300 trash trucks full of plastic are discarded into our beautiful oceans every year. Tiny pieces of plastic—fibres, fragments, or microbeads—have made their way into aquatic and freshwater species, both wild-caught and farmed. It would come as a surprise or as a shock to you that, scientists have found microplastics in 114 aquatic species, and more than half of those end up on our dinner plates.
Our oceans have become a museum for plastic through ages. Seabirds, turtles, whales, and other marine animals are found dead with their bellies full of plastic. Coastal communities around the world are suffocated by plastic waste that comes from far-off shores. Talking precisely about America, the plastics industry intends to expand production at least 35% by 2025 – with no plan for preventing more plastic pollution from entering our ocean or protecting frontline communities from toxic pollutants. Current US regulations are decades old and we think it’s well past time for the government to update them.
A study conducted in 2017 found that by cleaning 18,935 miles of coast and 20 million pieces of trash that the most common piece of litter picked up was the bottle cap. We can prevent the use of plastic bottle caps by a variety of choices, i.e., “say no to plastic” cans of water or a glass bottle of water with a metal cap, ( still a cap but metals better than plastic ), or you can just do the best thing for the environment and take a reusable water bottle everywhere you go.
Many of us think that not one person can make a difference and perhaps if you do make an effort that it would go unnoticed, but if one becomes two and two become four then all of a sudden the change is obvious! It’s only one plastic straw said 8 million people!
People have become so lazy that they can see consequences what their negligence will cause but still chose to have a quick and “easy” way rather than to take one little extra step. Implementing the smallest of changes into your lifestyle can have a huge effect on the state of our planet.
So what’s the solution for this hell-like situation?
From asking your local supermarket for alternatives to plastic packaging to asking your favourite restaurant for compostable straws, there’s always something we can do. Here are a few easy steps that you can adopt in your day to day life to reduce the frightening plastic pollution:
- Start using recyclable bags, or cloth bags. These are eco-friendly and fundamental in the waste-free world. They are reusable and if you get a high-quality one it can literally last all your life. The bags are usually made from cotton but if you want to be extremely helpful to the environment then you can buy one made from reused plastic, so not only are you not going to not using plastic bags anymore you have actually taken a bit of plastic out of the environment.
- Refuse single-use plastic such as plastic bags or straws, to reduce the use and demand for them.
- Up-cycling or reusing the plastic that you already have.
- Local beach clean-ups are a great way to get a group of likeminded people together for a good cause.
- Start making more eco-friendly choices in your everyday lives.
- Start educating local restaurateur and local shop owners about various options available which they can switch to for packaging, storing, and bagging items. Today, many companies are coming up with excellent low-cost substitutes, such as bamboo utensils in place of plastic ones.
The mother Earth is dying and so are we. Most people only act when they are directly affected by that matter and that time is not so far. Do remember that it only takes a little longer and it makes a big difference. Every year, about 8 million tons of plastic waste escapes into the oceans from coastal nations.
Will you join us and stand up for our ocean, our communities and help in not only reducing but putting an end to the Plastic Pollution?