World Environment Day 2018, Fighting with Ubiquitous Plastic.
World Environment Day 2018 focused on tackling pollution from ubiquitous plastic, a man-made material that is cheap, lightweight, durable, easy to produce and usable in myriad ways. But plastic does not decompose. Have you ever considered what happens to plastic waste that ends up in our waterways? Well, unfortunately the plastic floating around in the water could still be there in 600 years’ time!
“The Plastic Menace” has became a major landfill problem in most African nations and more particularly those that wish to deal with the problem by burning the plastics down without proper way and facilities to do so. The smoke that builds up in the skies and the population that’s directly affected by the fumes live in terrible and deplorable conditions, however, plastic is not only a lifetime landfill problem, but it is also an affliction on our oceans and waterways. Marine life is suffering from our waste, and it is estimated over a million birds and 100,000 marine mammals and turtles die every year across the globe because of this. So what can you do to stop this plastic pandemic?
The death of marine animals and destruction of their nature habitats are among the world’s plastic problem has been hitting headlines globally and we need to act now to avoid the problem worsening. This issue has been raised by many, in fact within the last couple years the governments has introduced ways to combat the problem and even encouraged the public to make different lifestyle choices.
You may have noticed the new laws banning the manufacturing and importation of plastic bags in Kenya with hefty fine and jail terms. This are the measures we need to take at the global level in order for us to cab this issue. While the UK took the advantage and introduced the Carrier bag charge in many major stores across the UK it was to act as a deterrent to using the plastic bags. The public have received the message of the plastic pandemic and the need to prevent further pollution, and have started reusing carrier bags to avoid the bag charge or bringing in their own ‘bag for life’ to do their bit to make a change.
Many environmental organisations are trying hard to educate and provide further information on how to prevent plastic waste in our waterways and how the public and several boaters can make simple changes that will make a big difference. The Fight with plastic is a big one given that out of the 8.3 billion metric tonnes of plastic produced since 1950, 76% has been discarded but stubbornly survives. Its very worrying that every subsequent year since 1950, 13 million tonnes of plastic leaks into the ocean, harming the marine environment, water systems, biodiversity, economies and human health. It is time to rethink the way the world manufactures, uses and manages plastic.
Reducing single-use or disposable plastic products such as plastic bags and packaging is a step forward. Proper collection, disposal and recycling of existing single use plastic products are vital but not enough. Proper enforcement of existing rules and regulations is essential, and governments should track record on enforcement of environmental norms.
But tackling pollution and improving the planet’s environmental health, prospects for sustained economic growth and human well-being will require more than abatement. Current consumption and production systems pay little heed to either the finite nature of resources or the problem of waste. The world needs more sustainable patterns of consumption and production: we are effectively living beyond our resources and this is a very dangerous trend. Growing economies must shift to resource-efficient production and consumption systems that curtail waste. Persisting with business-as-usual will lead to further environmental degradation, poor air, water and land endangering efforts to improve lives and livelihoods.
Most importantly this year’s Environmental day will be hosted by India thus giving the country and chance to come clean and show other developing countries the path to follow on this issue. India must take this lesson to heart and make it the centerpiece of its development strategy.