We’ve all thrown away some piece of trash - whether it’s tossing the tea bag we used for a warm cup of chai, removing old clothing we outgrew, or discreetly spitting out a now flavourless piece of gum. Teabags, clothes, and chewing gum sound unrelated but actually, share a common trait. This may come as a huge surprise (it was for us) but all the items mentioned above contain plastic. Yes, even chewing gum has plastic! Despite efforts to avoid the typical plastic bag or bottle, we all are still contributing to the tons of plastic left behind in landfills, or worse, oceans.
This month marks “Plastic Free July” a month-long challenge to avoid single-use plastics (straws, packaging, utensils, etc) and limit the overall amount of plastic products we discard. There’s an entire website dedicated to providing information that empowers visitors to make this movement known within their communities. Even the simplest act of refusing to use plastic has a large impact for India, the world, and Climate Change. To celebrate, we will be writing a 3 part blog series about climate change focusing on how it affects the environment, our health, and what we can do as individuals to help!
So as one might be wondering at this point, what’s the big deal with using plastic? It’s durable, water-resistant, lightweight, and most importantly cheap - to the extent that it’s everywhere. It’s hard to see how the bits of plastic we trash are relevant to our everyday working lives. Well, it is very relevant. In this year’s monsoon season, Mumbai is currently dealing with heavy flooding due to unusually high levels of rainfall. The problem is only worsened by the city’s 700 metric tons of plastic pollution waste daily. The plastic is clogging drains all across the city and makes it impossible for its floodwaters to escape.
Waste really does add up! Though, you may not notice the results immediately. Plastic, once dumped into landfills, takes up to 1000 years to fully degrade. In the meantime, as plastics lie out in the sunlight a greenhouse gas called methane is produced. Methane gas leads to more heat being trapped in the atmosphere, and as a result, we’ve seen droughts, greater floods due to melting ice, and heavier rainfall with increased evaporation.
Otherwise, plastic ends up in our oceans further ruining ecosystems we understand so little about. There have been many pictures online of sea animals turning up lifeless on shores only to find their stomachs full of plastics. Plastic does not degrade so it remains in the oceans for creatures to mistake as food. The plastic in their bodies either increases to the point of suffocation or releases too many toxins into their systems. Remember, that we end up consuming some of these same creatures - which we’ll talk more about in our next post. What we put out eventually comes back to harm us.
The Earth is our home and the “environment” is what the future of humanity depends on. We need to keep in mind how our actions contribute to the world around us or we won’t have a decent place to live. It’s also important to keep informed, read about these topics, and educate others. Reading this blog is an amazing start and don’t forget to share it with your friends and relatives so they can learn more about sustainability as well. Turn to plastic-free green products & Keep up the good work!
Links to learn more: