Plastic Pollution

Aug 12 2016. view 663


Oh! Colombo 

Last weekend was quite educational to me when I spent time with Otara talking to her about one of my current favourite subjects, the plastic pollution issues in our country. Otara is determined to get somewhere with the plastic and other disgusting pollutions in this country. 

I was horrified to learn that Sri Lanka comes fifth in the world for plastic polluters. I am sure all of you must be aware that plastic pollution has become a huge issue in the word. It is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the world's oceans. Most of the plastic that ends in the ocean comes from the land and was once in our hands. 

Plastic is a substance that the earth cannot digest. The estimation is that it takes 500 -1,000 years for plastic to degrade. May be it even takes longer than that: plastic has not been around long enough to know for sure. So, basically our plastic shopping bags, straws, spoons, takeaway containers and cups just hang around forever somewhere in a landfill leaching into the earth or somewhere in our waterways polluting both the land and sea and killing lives. 

Here are some very scary facts. Plastic never goes away - virtually every piece of plastic that was ever made still exists in some shape or form. Current plastic production is over 200 million tons each year. By 2025, plastic consumption in Asia is forecasted to increase by 80% to exceed 200 million tons, and global consumption to 400 million tons.  Fifty percent of the plastic that we use, we use just once and throw away. Plastic constitutes approximately 90% of all trash floating on the ocean’s surface, with 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile. There could be one ton of plastic for every three tons of fish in the ocean by 2025. One million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic in our oceans. Chemicals leached by plastics are in the blood and tissue of nearly all of us. Exposure to them is linked to cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption and other ailment. 

Here is what we all of us could do about this issues says Otara. REJECT single-use plastics beginning today. 

This list of plastic items that cannot be recycled may surprise you. They are plastic grocery bags/polythene bags, lunch sheets, plastic bottle caps, takeout food containers, Styrofoam. 

Remember to take a reusable shopping bag with you when you go grocery shopping or to the shops. Say NO when the check-out person tries to give you a plastic bag to carry your goods in. Always carry your own water bottle that you can refill. Avoid things like lunch sheets and takeaway boxes - use reusable lunch boxes instead. Educate as many persons as possible on this subject; it is not such a difficult task. 

The challenge is on.  Let us be part of the solution and not the problem.



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