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Lasque Tiarc

Sparkling solutions for Earth’s Bright

Vaseline 2 months ago

About 2,600 tons of PET bottle waste is produced every day, or a staggering 949,000 tons per year. Plastic from the kitchen, office supplies, packaging, toys and gadgets, shops and other activities also ends up in landfills and pollutes the environment. The Earth is saying “No” to plastic and this calls for interventions at all levels.

Earth Day, celebrated every year on April 22, is an essential reminder of our collective responsibility to the environment. It is a global phenomenon celebrated by more than 193 countries for its environmental protection and sustainability and has paved the way for groundbreaking environmental legislation such as the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. Its roots go back almost sixty years to a burgeoning environmental awareness and a wave of student activism. Gaylord Nelson, a Democrat from Wisconsin, USA, witnessed the power of student movements when billions of people, especially students, took to the streets to demonstrate against war and the leaders had to listen to them. The success of this movement encouraged leaders to raise public awareness of environmental issues and get stakeholders on board. The impetus for actual action came in 1969 after the oil spill in Santa Barbara, which had enormous consequences for biodiversity. Senator Nelson proposed a national day to raise awareness about environmental issues and channel the young minds to help in the same. The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970. Since then, the day began to gain wider public appeal as the environmental impact of development projects began to become apparent.

This year, April 22, 2024, we celebrate Earth Day with the theme ‘Planet vs Plastic’. The theme for the day is chosen by EarthDay.org after considering pressing environmental issues, current events and global trends, or taking into account public suggestions. The plastic threat threatens to become major, as we see it. About eight billion tons of plastic have been produced over the past sixty years, the vast majority of which has not been recycled. EarthDay.org calls for a 60% reduction in plastic production by 2040 and a complete elimination of single-use plastics by 2030. According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), India generates approximately 9.4 million tons of plastic waste annually; only about 30% of plastic waste is recycled. Hospitals and medical institutions extensively use plastic for syringes, infusion bags, PPE kits, packaging for medicines and various medical devices. A study in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) found that during the COVID-19 pandemic, hospital waste consisting largely of plastic contributed to 87.4% of the additional plastic waste generated. About 2,600 tons of PET bottle waste is generated every day, or a staggering 949,000 tons per year. Plastic from the kitchen, office supplies, packaging, toys and gadgets, shops and other activities also ends up in landfills and pollutes the environment. The Earth is saying “No” to plastic and this calls for interventions at all levels.
Reducing plastic production and consumption by promoting sustainable alternatives such as biodegradable plastics, reusable containers and packaging made from renewable materials such as bamboo or paper is a key strategy to curb the menace. Improving waste management infrastructure, such as implementing recycling programs and investing in advanced recycling technologies such as chemical recycling, can help increase recycling rates and reduce plastic waste. Implementing circular economy principles, such as designing products for recyclability and encouraging the use of recycled materials in production, can minimize the need for virgin plastic production. Combating plastic pollution at its source by banning single-use plastics such as plastic bags, straws and cutlery, and implementing bottle deposit schemes to encourage recycling are effective measures. The polluter pays and is taxed is another strategy that can be applied to change the behavior of the population. Enforcement of regulations, such as fines for littering and illegal dumping, and cleanup efforts, such as community beach cleanups and initiatives such as the Ocean Cleanup project, can help remove existing plastic waste from the environment. Supporting innovation and research into alternative materials, such as plant-based plastic or edible packaging, and investing in projects to develop biodegradable packaging solutions, such as compostable packaging for food products, are crucial. Raising awareness through educational campaigns that encourage community involvement in local cleanup activities, such as river cleanups or neighborhood recycling drives, can empower individuals to take action. By implementing these actions together, we can work towards a future where plastic pollution is significantly reduced and the health of the planet is preserved.
Let’s be catalysts of change and ensure that Earth wins the war over plastic this Earth Day.

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