New research indicates that inadequate disposal of plastic may contribute to over a million deaths worldwide every year. Consider that each second, enough plastic waste to fill a London double-decker bus finds its way to an incinerator, or ships out to hapless developing countries. Surely, this is an alarming indictment on the population of every rich country that seems not to care what happens to their rubbish as long as it does not affect them.
Social Conscience through Awareness Programmes
World Environment Day took place on 5 June 2019, with the focus this year to raise awareness of waste and the pollution it causes. First introduced in 1974 by the UN, its aims were to raise awareness and inspire action to help protect the environment. Promoted in over 100 countries, this important day is spreading awareness across all continents.
Tearfund – they are an environmental charity – is concerned about the growth of plastic pollution. Burgeoning rubbish is adding to problems already existing in poorer countries. Many of them suffer harmful chemical fallout by way of leaching into the environment. The inevitable conclusion is widespread diseases spreading by uncollected waste and the contamination factor.
Ticking Pollution Time Bombs
The adverse effect plastic waste has on the environment sometimes takes a long time to manifest in the local ecosystem. For example, it blocks waterways, which in turn can cause flooding as the plastic barrier blocks the natural water flows. The result is concerning; waterborne diseases spread quickly, and when people burn the waste to get rid of it, it releases harmful toxins and causes harmful air pollution. The scenario is as intolerable as it is untenable on the poor of the world.
Every Effort from Wealthy Households Helps
A mind set shift from each member of the human species is the only hope going forward. Here are 7 easy-to-follow and practical steps you can take to help save our planet from pollution.
- Opt to shop with reusable bags – single-use plastic bags used by shoppers in England dropped by 85% in the first six months following the introduction of the 5p charge in October 2015. However, retailers in England still sold over 2 billion single-use plastic carrier bags in the year following the 5p charge.
- Each minute of the day sees more than a million plastic bottles purchased globally. This number is on the increase due to rising populations around the world. Refilling a reusable plastic water bottle can lead to fewer discards floating around our oceans.
- Take a reusable coffee/tea flask to work – imagine how many paper / plastic / polystyrene cups will stay out of landfill sites and oceans.
- If you smoke, rather opt for matches over disposable plastic lighters, which sit in landfills for years and often end up in the stomachs of avian visitors to landfill sites.
- Avoid using plastic cutlery (knives, forks and spoons) when eating on the go. Save the planet by bringing your own from home.
- Stop using cling foil as a food covering. Reusable plastic containers with lids offer a longer-term solution.
- Recycle all household discards where possible in an environmentally responsible fashion.
The list is endless and all you need is a thinking, caring attitude. Consider that what you irreverently throwaway today will end up as someone unknown’s problem in the future. It could be just down the road, or on the other side of planet Earth. Discard responsibly and feel good.