World Environment Day is UN’s most important day for encouraging and spreading awareness and action for the protection of our environment on a global note. Since its inception in 1974, this day has become famous worldwide with more than 100 countries showing active participation every year.
Ever since 1974, millions of people have participated, supported and worked towards changes in our consumption habits and national and international policies as well. Each World Environment Day is organized around a strong theme based on which all the participating countries organize events and awareness in their place. This theme is usually one that focuses on the most pressing environmental condition happening currently. The first World Environment Day was based on the theme ‘Only One Earth’ while the theme for 2018 is beating plastic pollution.
Theme for 2018: Beat Plastic Pollution
Plastics have invaded our lives such that we cannot imagine a life without them. Right from containers, bags, chairs, cups, dress packaging, buckets and mugs to straws, lunch boxes, water bottles, milk packets and pencil boxes, everything is made of plastic-either high-quality or low-quality plastic. Although many metropolitan cities in India have come up with strong ideas and strict policies to curb plastic use, we are still far behind in our achievements. Every World Environment Day has a different global host country which selects the theme for the day highlighting the environmental challenges it faces. The host for 2018 is our Mother India and the theme chosen cannot be more appropriate than the current one.
Plastic is invaluable to humans, but we have become solely/over-reliant on single-use or disposable plastic which affect environment severely. The facts below will surely motivate any person to become less-dependent on plastics and move over to other reliable replacements (the process is hard, but the results are worthy!):
Host of 2018 World Environment Day-India
By the time Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowls an over in a cricket match, four full trucks of garbage are dumped into the ocean! Host of 2018, India, has a deep-rooted belief of co-existing with nature. Ayurveda, a system of medicine based on nature and its regenerating forces, has its historical roots in the Indian subcontinent. The Government of India has plans to celebrate this World Environment Day through a series of nature-based engaging activities and events to create strong public interest and participation. Plastic clean-up drives in public areas, national reserves and forests along with beach clean-up activities are planned throughout the nation.
Environment: A Bigger Perspective
A healthy environment is the basis for human life. It provides us with all essentials needed to survive and thrive in this world. Drinking water, energy, livable climate, food, clean air and natural beauty are the basic necessities to lead a life worth living.
Peanut Turtle: A Lesson for a Lifetime
None would forget the misery of the little Peanut turtle that became jailed under the plastic ring of a six-pack holder due to the irresponsibility of some individual who failed to dispose it effectively. More than a decade after being a hostage to the plastic ring, the turtle was rescued but will never fully recover from her deformity. But, she continues to live as an educator to people of this world, a role which not many turtles are privileged of! A brewery in United States started creating completely edible six-pack rings made of barley and wheat ribbons. These rings are 100% biodegradable and edible which would never harm a marine animal that comes across it.
How about using a spoon to eat food and then eating the spoon itself? This is not a joke, but a reality proved by Bakeys in India who made the world’s first edible spoons. The spoons are made using sorghum, rice and wheat flour and kneaded using hot water. They are 100% vegan, 100% natural and 100% biodegradable. Read more on sorghum and other such whole grains at www.firsteatright.com.
Researchers at Egypt are keen on discovering a replacement for plastic bags which is a pressing problem in the country. They are working on a polymer that can be made into grocery bags. This polymer is procured from the organic compound chitin, present in the shells of sea creatures such as shrimps, lobsters and crabs. A motorcycle driver in Indonesia created an edible plastic bag made of cassava starch, vegetable oil and organic resins.
While it might seem impossible to eradicate the use of plastic from our world, people around the planet are taking every step possible to bring about alternatives that are feasible, economical and environment-friendly. If we don’t take the right step now, by 2050 we would be living in a world where there would be more plastic than fish in terms of weight in the world’s oceans (World Economic Forum).
The last two decades have witnessed companies and researchers trying their hands on various biodegradable and compostable plastic substitutes that would not harm the nature when they are accidentally released into the ocean, streets or anywhere in the world. There are so many things that we can do from our side to embrace this special day and make the world a better place to live by avoiding plastic use. Try following the below-given suggestions:
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.