Say no to plastics!
To completely eliminate the use of plastics, we need a movement to erupt from the grassroot level
Each year, April 22 is celebrated as Earth Day to mark the birth anniversary of the modern-day environmental movement. On this day in 1970, millions of people took to the streets to protest against the negative impacts brought in by the 150-years of industrial development. From then on, this day has been celebrated to voice the concerns regarding the need to save our environment and our Mother Earth.
It is a day of political action and civic participation. People are expected to take out a march to spread awareness, sign petitions to save Mother Earth, meet with the concerned elected officials, plant trees and clean up their towns and roads. Corporations and governments use it to make pledges and announce various sustainability measures. Faith leaders connect Earth Day with protecting God's greatest creations, humans, biodiversity, and the planet that we all live on.
Theme for 2018
Earth Day Network, the organisation that leads the Earth Day campaigns worldwide, has chosen Earth Day 2018 to mobilise the world to end the nuisance of plastic pollution, including creating support for a global effort to eliminate single-use plastics along with an emphasis on the global regulation for the disposal of plastics. Earth Day Network plans to educate millions of people about the health and other risks associated with the use and disposal of plastics, including the pollution of our oceans, water, and wildlife, and also spreading awareness about the growing body of evidence that decomposing plastics are creating serious global problems.
As the world's population continues to grow, so does the amount of garbage that people produce. On-the-go lifestyle requires easily disposable products like soda cans or bottles of water, but the accumulation of these products has led to increasing amounts of plastic pollution around the world. When plastics gather in an area, they begin to negatively impact the natural environment and create problems for plants, wildlife, and even human population. This includes killing plant life and posing danger to local animals. Plastic is an incredibly useful material, but it is also made of toxic compounds known to cause illness, and because it is meant for durability, it is not biodegradable. It costs millions of dollars each year to clean affected areas after exposure. Moreover, excess pollution has affected tourism, significantly impacting economies.
Let's end plastic pollution
From poisoning and injuring marine life to finding a way into our food to disrupt human hormones, the unbridled growth of plastics is threatening our planet's survival. The Earth Day Network has built a multi-year campaign to put an end to plastic pollution. The goals include ending single-use plastics, promoting alternatives to fossil fuel-based materials, promoting 100 per cent recycling of plastics, corporate and government accountability and changing human behaviour concerning plastics.
Earth Day Network's 'End Plastic Pollution' campaign includes four major components:
4Leading a grassroots movement to support the adoption of a global framework to regulate plastic pollution;
4Educating and mobilising citizens across the globe to demand that governments and corporations control and clean-up plastic pollution;
4Educating people worldwide to take personal responsibility for plastic pollution by choosing to reject, reduce, reuse, and recycle plastics;
4Promoting local government regulations and other efforts to tackle plastic pollution.
Role of responsible citizens
The government's job is to spread awareness; it is not feasible to expect everything from them. We will have to change our attitude and act responsibly. Plastic bags were once a modern convenience but they can now be efficiently replaced by reusable bags, many of which fold up compactly so that they are also portable. Disposable water bottles are causing immense damage to the environment; it's time to replace them with reusable bottles. Plastic food containers, lids, and utensils can all be easily replaced by reusable containers. Low-cost replacements like bamboo utensils in the place of plastic ones in local restaurants need to be promoted. We all can try and select items that come in non-plastic and recyclable packaging. We can be a better country if we all become better Indians!
(The views expressed are strictly personal)