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Essay

Viraaj Kulshreshtha

Year-Prize: The 11th Eco-generation Environmental Essay Competition     Item: Beat Plastic Pollution

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Beat Plastic Pollution, If you can't reuse it, refuse it

 

Viraaj Kulshreshtha (India)

Eco-generation Prize

 


Plastic – the functional gift from man to the mankind - a versatile material, with properties so irresistible, that got it an easy access and in no time a prominent role in society and industry alike. Low production costs, low weight, acid resistance, flexibility and durability has redefined the ways of the world. Unfortunately, the explosion in plastic products has been a challenge for our environment due to our short-sightedness and has put the mankind on the brink to nature’s wrath.
A nature trail during my summer break was an eye-opener for me. We were shown a documentary on the impact of plastic on Mother Earth followed by a visit to the nearby village. We were served food on banana leaf and found it to be tastier. Cool water was served from clay pots. The most thought-provoking part was that everyone had their own kitchen garden. I always felt us to be superior to the villagers, but was shocked to see them harness the rain, sun and wind for a clean a source of energy; and not to forget, a biogas plant too! I couldn’t trace plastic which according to me was ubiquitous! The visit forced me to reflect upon our lifestyle, exploitation of nature and excessive use of plastic finding its way into the ocean and I have been pondering over the possible way out.
The answer lies in R’s - Reflect on excessive consumerism leading to environmental degradation, Refuse to buy or accept products that can harm the environment, Repurpose and get creative and Reuse everything you have, Repair - don’t always discard, Replace use-and-throw products and thus, Reduce the wastage and finally Recycle - a great way to open your eyes to all that you toss and a chance to Rethink your future steps. Don’t forget to Replenish, restore and recover. Let’s Respect and act Responsibly. 
We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. We need an attitudinal shift, learn to ‘Say no’ and shift out of our comfort zone – it is both a muscle to be strengthened and a valuable skill with implications for sustainable living. Say “yes” to package-free purchases, carrying water refill, reusable cutlery, refillable glass bottle and an assortment of reusable fabric bags. We can also opt for eco-friendly alternatives to avoid the adverse effect of plastic on the environment such as Chicken feathers, Chitosan, Bagasse, Bio-derived plastics among many others for our daily needs.
To effectively manage the plastic waste, we need to address basic issues with plastic – non-biodegradability, ineffective disposable and change of mind-set. We need to ‘Think Global and Act Local’. The thumb rule to manage any waste is to adopt a ‘Zero-Waste Strategy’. Awareness is the key, so making the users aware of the impact of their action will play a key role. Initiatives to raise consumer awareness on the perils of plastic, adopting strategies  such as  ‘Plastic Free Days’ or ‘No Plastic Zone’ will surely go a long way in handling the challenge. Running campaigns, street plays and events to promote strategies like ‘School Compost Programs’, ‘Waste Not’, ‘Zero Waste Lunch’ Efforts will instil the importance in the young minds too. I am proud to be a part of a school that has adopted actions similar to these! We must also initiate steps to incentivise and encourage product developments that take into account the full life cycle of plastic, inculcate in smart shopping etiquette, challenge brands to change, improve our recycling infrastructure, help communities reduce plastic packaging waste and plastic litter and build plastic literacy. Adapt to reduce, reuse and recycle for sustenance of all.
It is time for us to realise that our life on a finite world, with finite resources, always involves limits. The more we Reflect and Refuse the less we will need to Reuse, Reduce and Recycle. Sustainability should not be limited to these R's, for we should constantly adapt to our ever-changing environment, which demands us to be creative and to explore various sustainable paths to find the ones that allow us to live our present lives without jeopardizing the future.
We are what we leave behind!
When we choose an action, We choose its consequences.
Change Begins with you - it starts with you and your simple habit changes.
Let us collectively bring the change.

27 Comments

Viraaj Kulshreshtha

  • Viraaj Kulshreshtha says :
    @Pushpanjali Shrivastava thanks so much for the appreciation
    Posted 02-09-2019 18:02

Pushpanjali Shrivastava

Viraaj Kulshreshtha

  • Viraaj Kulshreshtha says :
    I am so happy to share that I received my gift today
    Posted 22-11-2018 03:42

Viraaj Kulshreshtha

Viraaj Kulshreshtha

Viraaj Kulshreshtha

Viraaj Kulshreshtha

Viraaj Kulshreshtha

Viraaj Kulshreshtha

Viraaj Kulshreshtha

Viraaj Kulshreshtha

Viraaj Kulshreshtha

Viraaj Kulshreshtha

Manjesh Jha

  • Manjesh Jha says :
    Congratulations.
    Posted 31-10-2018 19:38

Aman Gangwar

  • Aman Gangwar says :
    Congratulations Viraaj.
    Posted 31-10-2018 19:35

Kanishka Thakur

Neha Singh

  • Neha Singh says :
    congratulations Viraaj,
    Posted 30-10-2018 02:06

Muskan Priya

Vineeta Gaine

Kajal Saini

  • Kajal Saini says :
    Congratulations Viraj.
    Posted 26-10-2018 12:46

Dikhsa Negi

  • Dikhsa Negi says :
    Congratulations viraaj
    Posted 24-10-2018 21:26

Archa B Jayan

  • Archa B Jayan says :
    Great essay, very well-written...Congratulations!!!
    Posted 24-10-2018 00:22

Viraaj Kulshreshtha

Viraaj Kulshreshtha

Pio  Mwita

  • Pio Mwita says :
    Congrats..... Very inspirational
    Posted 22-10-2018 22:14

Nikolay Dagaev

  • Nikolay Dagaev says :

    Hi Viraaj! Congratulations from the heart on winning the essay contest!
    Posted 22-10-2018 20:04

Viraaj Kulshreshtha

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