As the World Environment Days gears up, celebrations begin across the year and considering the fact that the plastic waste we have dumped in oceans is now more than the size of France, Germany and Spain combined – the theme of “beating plastic pollution” is but most suitable this Environment Day.
The big number this year is a total of 80,000-tonne flotilla of non-biodegradable plastic waste that has been dumped by countries of the world. If all this flotilla is gathered up and a plastic island is constructed, it will be bigger in area than the size of France, Germany and Spain combined – fact. Any guesses of where India stands in generating plastic waste? It is whooping 9.6 million tonnes of plastic waste every single year, and the number beats the previous years’ record, each year. While India is still better than the US’s 30 million tonnes of annual plastic garbage and it is doing much better than most “developed” nations, one thing is clear, if we continue at this pace, the world is going to fry by 2100.
Hence, the United Nations has decided to theme this year’s World Environment Day with “Beat plastic pollution” motto. Now we all know the plastic free alternatives to the “Big 4” plastic polluters: plastic bags, water bottles, plastic straws and coffee cups – it is basic, but what about a zillion other plastic items that we use every single day? Here’s an example – most of us have probably switched to using liquid dishwashing soaps, hand washes and shower gels – replacing the humble bars of soap, right? Can you imagine how many plastic bottles these liquid soaps are disposed just from your home? And that is just one thing, it takes you to rethink how addicted we have gotten to plastic.
But does this mean that we need to banish using any plastic items at all? Well, as ideal as that would be, it is quite not possible to get rid of plastic waste completely. Not all plastic is bad – for example Tupperware, it is plastic but it is made from recycled plastic and it can be recycled again, instead of throwing it away after single use. All we need to do is, ditch the single-time plastic items and replace them with reusable, recyclable and bio-degradable plastic options. Because it is not just a problem of your city or my city or India or US – it is a global problem and it takes every single one of us, living on this planet to fight the problem of plastic that is evading out lovely blue home planet. Wake up, open your eyes. Happy Environment Day.