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Essay

Sudarshan Sreeram

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

Comments 10 Comments    recommendations 1 recommendations

We aren’t plastics

Sudarshan Sreeram (India)

Eco-generation Prize

 

As I pick up my toothbrush every morning, I am reminded of the unbreakable bond that humanity has created with a former wonder material — plastics. We are nothing but our habits, practices, and ideals. A day in the life of every human is full of actions that determine their values; some take up best practices and leave behind smiles while others disrupt our environment and leave behind scars. With all the 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic disposables distributed around the globe, it is difficult for those who care about the environment to be mute spectators, watching it deteriorate. It’s only a greater concern that by 2050, that number would reach a staggering 12.5 billion metric tons.

Carelessly disposed plastics, which are still scarring our environment, have managed to find a permanent home inside the stomachs of Albatross birds and other forms of wildlife. With this in mind, have we ever wondered how much plastic material is present inside us? With over a trillion cells, the human body is home to several micro-plastics, which include micro fibres, powder, and dust. When I step out of my home every morning, I find myself confronted by the gentle, plastic-dust-carrying breeze, which reminds me of the laborious, long-term effort required to cleanse the air around us.

Ever since Alexander Parkes and Leo Baekeland invented plastics in the 19th century, it has influenced lives at homes, schools and offices. The 1967 classic movie, “The Graduate”, portrays a young man — Mr.Benjamin Braddock — who receives a career advice from Mr. McGuire: “Just one word …plastics.” Mr. McGuire wanted Mr. Braddock to realise that there is “a great future in plastics.” Any curious bystander listening to his advice would have fallen for it, not realising the burden it would cast upon Earth fifty years later.

Today, it is hard for humans to imagine a life without plastics regardless of how much it pollutes our environment. For local vendors, it’s unthinkable to eliminate plastics since they are an integral part of their economic supply chain. It’s undeniable that plastics have incredible reliability, but on the flip side, they are toxic substances; plastic materials contain toxic chemicals of varying degrees of composition and have the potential to cause diseases such as lung infections, cancers and skin disorders. Although organisations and governments have taken numerous efforts, only less than 10% of plastic trash is recycled.

If the poetry of nature has taught us one thing, it’s that the pensively lucid human life can thrive on Earth as the greens flourish, all while striking a balance with mother nature by eliminating plastics. Of course, this is easier said than done, but how do we reduce the use of plastics prior to eliminating them? Steps should be identified to effectively reuse and replace plastics while still being friendly to our environment.

Reduce and recycle are two of the better ways to control the piling of more plastics in landfills on Earth. Replacing plastic containers with lightweight metals or ceramics is a viable option. Perhaps, compressed rice bran could be used instead of cheap plastic to create bowls, plates, and spoons. Reusing plastic bags for shopping would bring about a reduction in its production and effectively lessen its impact on our environment. Cups made of metal or glass could replace disposable plastic cups. In the case of washing synthetic materials, we should adopt fibre filters that would catch small fibres, which would otherwise pollute the air and our food. Public waste bins should be fitted with sensors that would constantly waste collection centres; this prevents bins from overfilling and reduces the contamination levels of a given area.

Governmental norms for banning certain plastics will have a huge impact. Educating today’s generation to refuse plastics and adopt alternative solutions is an important step towards establishing a plastic free world. Growing plants in used coconut shells has the potential to significantly reduce the number of plastic pots; coconut shells are not only biodegradable but also enrich the growth of plants with nutrients as they degrade.

In the end, it all boils down to personal responsibility. If the movie, “The Graduate,” were to be revised in 2018, the advice from Mr. McGuire to Mr. Braddock would be — “think carefully …you need to save your environment.” As every citizen commits to the personal responsibility of leading a life that is free of plastics, it would help us cement a sustainable future for future generations to come.

 

10 Comments

Pushpanjali Shrivastava

Manjesh Jha

  • Manjesh Jha says :
    Congratulations!!
    Posted 31-10-2018 19:36

Aman Gangwar

  • Aman Gangwar says :
    Congratulations.
    Posted 31-10-2018 19:34

Neha Singh

  • Neha Singh says :
    Congrats Sudarshan.
    Posted 30-10-2018 02:07

Muskan Priya

Vineeta Gaine

  • Vineeta Gaine says :
    Congrats sudarshan.
    Posted 28-10-2018 22:14

Dikhsa Negi

  • Dikhsa Negi says :
    Congratulations sudarshan

    Posted 24-10-2018 21:25

Archa B Jayan

Pio  Mwita

  • Pio Mwita says :
    It's superb
    Posted 22-10-2018 21:36

Viraaj Kulshreshtha

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