Is there such a thing as forever? It is said that nothing lasts forever. Happiness ends. Relationships end. And ultimately, even our life will end. That’s why when De Beers, makers of the finest diamonds in the world, conceptualized the tagline “Diamonds are forever”; it became a hit. Since then, no marriage is complete without a diamond ring. A diamond ring became a symbol of forever in relationships. Is diamond the only thing that is forever? Unfortunately, for mankind there is another thing that is forever. Plastics are forever.
Use of Plastics
For decades now, we have relied on the use of plastics in our daily lives. Plastics have many uses from food containers and packaging, clothing, furniture, electronics and many others. It has replaced the use of natural materials such as cotton, glass and paper. It is cheaper to use. And in more ways than one, plastics have made our life a lot easier. However, the convenience that plastics brought us came with severe consequences not just in the environment but also in our health.
According to the United Nations Environment Program, when plastic was first used in the 1950s to 1970’s plastic wastes were still manageable. However, plastic production more than tripled in the 1970s to the 1990s. It became worse in the 2000s. Today, we produce about 400 million tonnes of plastic waste per annum. What’s worse, the production of single-used plastics increases at an alarming rate. Almost everything from bottles, containers, plastic spoons and forks, potato chips bags, food packaging materials are just some examples of the single use plastics that we have today.
Are Plastics Forever?
According to Professor Dan Parsons, a professor of GeoSciences in theUniversity of Hull and founding director of the Energy and Environment Institute (EEI) in the United Kingdom, fossilised plastics preserved in rocks will be around for 10 million years.
World Data indicates that:
- Only 9% of plastics are properly recycled
- More than a million marine animals die each year because of plastic wastes
- There is approximately 269,000 tons of plastic waste in the oceans today
- About 2 million plastic bags are being used every minute worldwide
- 73% of beach litter around the world is plastic
The image below by Our World in Data shows which countries just dumped their plastic wastes outside landfills or in the open leading to waste leakage in the surrounding environment.
What Can You Do?
If you love your children, then it is time to do something about it. Let us give the future generation a chance to live in a beautiful and clean environment. Here are small things that you can do today:
- Go straw free. If you really need to use straw, use plastic straws.
- Use organic cotton buds and bamboo toothbrushes.
- Bring your recyclable mugs each time you buy coffee.
- Next time you order take out, say no to disposable utensils and cutleries.
- Bring your eco-bag when you go to the groceries.
- Stop buying bottled water. Use a built-in filter or carry with your recyclable water container.
- Cook more at home. You are not only helping the environment but it is also healthier. You can get to choose fresh and natural ingredients.
- Purchase second items.
- Buy in bulk or big sizes.
- Patronize and support eco-friendly brands.
We only have one planet. Let’s start taking care of it now.