(: (ʇxǝʇ sᴉɥʇ pɐǝɹ oʇ uʍop ǝpᴉsdn uǝǝɹɔs ǝuoɥd ɹnoʎ ƃuᴉuɹnʇ ʎq ʞooʇ ʇsnɾ noʎ ǝuo ǝɥʇ ǝʞᴉl) ¡uoᴉʇɔ∀ u∀ ǝʞɐ┴ ‘ǝƃuɐɥƆ ∀ ʇnoq∀ ƃuᴉɹq o┴
(¿ɐᴉʇɹǝuᴉ ɟo ʍɐl ǝɥʇ ɹǝqɯǝɯǝɹ) spɹoʍ ʇsnɾ ɥʇᴉʍ ʇɥƃnoɹq ǝq ʇouuɐɔ ǝƃuɐɥƆ ¡ɯǝɥʇ ǝƃuɐɥɔ noʎ ssǝlun ǝƃuɐɥɔ ʇ,uop sƃuᴉɥ┴
“Plastic is suffocating our planet…!” We have all been hearing this hue and cry for a decade now (remember 2005 floods?). Mumbai choked and rest of Maharashtra was in no better shape! The main culprit was plastic in the drainage system. I was in college that time. In the second year to be precise. Nanded city, situated on the banks of the mighty Godavari was flooded like never before. Yes, I understand that it was Nature’s Wrath and rivers flooding or Ocean’s high tides unaccepting of the influx of the flood water that caused the disaster, but the plastic was what clogged the drainage lines and amplified the flooding to an even more extent!
That was 13 years ago! In college, we were doing street plays to raise awareness about harms of polythene use (CIP: प्लास्टिक चा भस्मासुर), were collecting garbage from riverside thinking that these small actions down the line would bring about a change, that it would matter… but with passing time I too become hopeless and jaded and that was a personal defeat!
I too was outraged with the thoughts like, “Instead of enforcing a ban on us consumers, why won’t they just ban the manufacturing altogether!”. I too thought “Heck! I don’t care anymore”, “Kaun itna karte baithega, who has the time?” , “This is a waste of time, nothing changes!” , and the classic, “It’s not my problem!”
Plastic is forever! And so the efforts to eliminate its waste product must continue… Not saying that you need to spend your weekend picking up trash on the beach (although if you do that will be really great), just picking up your own trash is a good start too…
tiny or MIGHTY, All Changes Count!
So here are 5 Easy Changes You Can Make To Beat Plastic Pollution-
1. Trade Your Trash!
My mother used to save all milk bags, empty plastic bottles, polythene for months and then every few months a bahngarwala (a scrap dealer) used to come and buy it all for some measly amount of money. We used to make fun of her for putting all that effort and for what? A mere 20 Rs!
Little did I know that little act of trading plastic goods is actually today’s glorified acts of “Segregating” and “Recycling” our plastic trash. Segregation (sorting wet and dry trash) and Recycling seems difficult and seems like an alien concept, but it really isn’t.
Our parents (not just mom, dads too, dealing with trash isn’t just a women’s job!) have been trading dry trash (plastic, paper, glass, metals) for ages! It’s recycling at it’s best! Find a scrap dealer near you, and treat yourself with a fantastic new glass/metal kitchen appliance every year with whatever moderate amount of money you make from this trade 🙂
2. Mind Your Scrubs!
I have been guilty of using fancy and convenient facial scrubs, but little did I know that these scrubs actually use plastic or polymer microbeads that don’t degrade (obviously!) and make their way into our rivers -> Oceans -> Fish &Marine Life -> our dinner table!
Fun Fact: Not just face scrubs but a lot of other products like toothpaste, spa products too contain plastic microbeads in them. Little marine animals (plankton) are seen to gobble up these microbeads as they are colorful and shiny and see animals mistaken them for bait. Planktons are eaten by little fish, and little fish becomes food for not just bigger fish but also for seabirds… thus the plastic makes it’s way up the food chain… and ultimately to the ones at the very top of the chain, us!
Solution: To avoid all of this, avoid using products with these microbeads. Trust me there are plenty of scrubs that use natural sources like brown sugar or walnut powder instead of plastic microbeads. You can even use herbal ubtans or even haldi-besan paste if you want to go all natural.
3. Keep That Fork Down!
Earlier, like till 10 years ago (before takeout became our default setting!), we used to use plastic forks and spoons only on special occasions (A.K.A B’day parties:P). Plastic cutlery is fragile. It chips and breaks down easily and adds into the load of microplastic (microplastic: smaller particles of plastic polluting the water bodies!).
Solution: At home, we do use metal spoons and forks (good job there!), If you are someone who orders food online or takes a parcel an awful a lot of times, keep a pair of spoon/fork in your purse (not kidding, have seen a lot of people doing it!). Whenever you must use a plastic one, make sure to dispose of it properly!
And as for party throwers, wanna have fun but also make a statement? Try Edible Cutlery.
4. Sanitary Trash!
Goes without saying that invention of sanitary napkins was a huge leap in women’s health, but an unplanned (and an unsightly) consequence is the pile of sanitary napkins that don’t degrade and are not just polluting but also hazardous to the environment because of it is a biowaste (waste containing possibly hazardous biological agents!).
A simple and effective solution is menstrual cups!
They are comfortable to use and 100% hygienic. Read detailed instructions on how to use them HERE.
Same goes for the baby diapers. They end up in the trash and are a health hazard! But behold, reusable (and washable) baby diapers are available on the market and also online. And if you really do not want to buy the online ones, our very own langots are always easily available everywhere… (for any moms reading this:- cloth diapers are not as convenient or leak-proof as the paper diapers, many parents find it difficult to use them for newborns and very young babies as they tend to pee and poo a lot more! You can definitely try them for your toddlers though. And even if you don’t, no pressure and no judgments; we know you have got your hands full!)
5. No littering… Anywhere except the litterbox!
Need I even explain this point? It’s pretty obvious that thousands of volunteers should not have to spend thousands of hours picking up after your, mine or anybody’s litter!
Bharat will become swatchh only when us bhartiyas become mindful of keeping not just our houses but even our surroundings clean!
So those were my 5 tips on how you can beat the plastic pollution. You don’t have to follow all of them, pick and choose whichever you feel comfortable following. Some people I know have decided to give up on using only plastic straws, others only polythene bags and some just plastic cutlery… It’s all good. Remember,
tiny or MIGHTY, All changes COUNT!
She is a Registered Dietitian who does not believe in dieting; She has a Master’s Degree in Nutrition but she is not your “I know it all Nutrition Guru!”; She loves food but loves talking about food even more. Her articles are a direct reflection of her personal quest where nutrition science meets real life! Oh, and she is owned by a 3 m.o. naughty kitten 🙂