Today, on 5th of June, we celebrate World Environment Day. This year’s theme ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’ has great implication for India. In a bid to curb pollution and plastic waste, China has banned the import of plastic wastes. Now it is our time to consider this a serious problem and take considerable measures to manage plastic wastes and curb the use of plastic as much as possible.
According to News 18, “India ranks third from the bottom in the global Environmental Performance Index and this year our country is hosting the World Environment Day which urges governments, industry, communities, and individuals to come together and explore sustainable alternatives and urgently reduce the production and excessive use of single-use plastic that is polluting our oceans, damaging marine life and threatening human health.”
If we go to the facts, according to a survey, India produces an estimated 25,000 tons of plastic waste every day and this is huge. But lately, the government has been making some active efforts to reduce plastic usage in the country, like the ban on plastic bags have been enforced in 25 states and Union Territories in India. Though the effectiveness of this ban is questionable, the plastic bags continue to flow unchecked in these regions. But actually the government can make rules only, but to implement those rules, we all have to contribute in our own way. What most people don’t realize is that their unhealthy, personal choices are responsible for the degrading environment. Most of our everyday actions add a lot of non-biodegradable wastes like plastics to our environment and increase pollution. These things are so tightly intertwined with our daily life that we give it a thought or we don’t think we could do anything about these.
More importantly, the component of citizens’ education is significant in organizing and regulating plastic waste; they need to be brought up as citizens who are fit to use plastic responsibly. And in order to do this, awareness is not enough; everyone needs to be trained to manage plastic wastes and do their part in a cleaner and greener environment.
So, on this environment day, here we are with some simple alternatives you can opt to beat plastic pollution. Start today and be a responsible citizen because it is easier than you think.
1. Avoid using Paper and Thermocol Cups
Whether we are drinking coffee, juice or water at the public places, it is very easy for us to drink and throw those paper and Thermocol cups and glasses. Well, it is the time that you make some essential changes in your habit. Choose thermos, travel mugs and do not use the paper ones as these glasses add a lot to pollution and are non-biodegradable. Research says that the plastic cutlery takes around 100 to 1000 years to decompose.
2. Opt for Natural Fabric Clothes
Polyester and synthetic clothes are now widely used. They are not only harmful to our body but also add to pollution, harming the environment every time you wash them. So, we suggest you replace the synthetic clothes with comfortable and locally made cotton or khadi fabrics. In this way, we not only save the environment but also support our economy.
3. Invest in Reusable Cutlery
One of the most common and ignored plastic waste is plastic straws that contribute to most common daily waste. Substitute disposable straws with stainless steel ones or the plastic ones that are reusable which can be washed and reused just like spoons and forks.
4. Reduce the use of Plastic Wrapping Papers
We all love gifts and what is a gift without a nice wrapping paper. And the plastic wrapping papers add to waste in a huge amount during holidays and wedding season. Try to use old paintings of your kid as wrapping paper instead of the plastic ones, it will not only reuse the old painting paper but will also add a personal touch to your gift.
5. Carry Cloth Bags While Shopping
We are now used to go out in the market and get our vegetables and fruits in the plastic bags. But in older times, people used to carry a cloth bag to buy groceries and other household things. And now is the time that we start using the cloth bag and replace it with the plastic ones.
6. Reuse Plastic Bags
If you already have a collection of plastic bags, don’t throw them away after a single use. Instead, take them with you when you go for grocery or vegetable shopping. In this way, you would avoid more plastic waste collection at your home.
7. Reduce Pre-Packaged Food Purchases
Nearly all pre-packaged foods like biscuits, chips, etc. come packed in plastic. Instead, identify bakers near you and buy goods from them in reusable boxes. This way, you create a win-win situation – you save money, you save the environment and you promote small businesses too.
8. Dump Your Kitchen Waste Thoughtfully
Though our government has taken steps and in many cities and states, it’s been a while that the municipal trucks collect wet and dry garbage separately but there are still many cities that need to implement this. And if you are still not segregating your dry and wet garbage, start doing it right away. This way the recyclable garbage could be separated and used in an efficient way. In many countries, people make a pit near their houses and dump the wet kitchen wastes like peels of the vegetables, etc in that pit and cover it and that dump becomes an organic fertilizer for the soil.
Along with these few tips, it goes without saying that we should try to save water and electricity as much as possible. At your home switch to energy efficient lights like LED. Collect the waste water from your water purifier in a bucket and use it again to wash clothes, mop and wash the floors, and water the plants. Another simple way to go green is to stop printing emails, bills and make transactions online as much as you can.
Virtually, all the plastic that has ever been produced is still around us except the one that is burnt and add to the air pollution. While the need for plastic in our daily life is irrefutable, but we should try to reduce the use of plastic wherever we have the option to choose. That is definitely going to be a lot inconvenient in the starting but choosing plastic over the planet is really not convenient either.